Poems for You

Tinashe

SPOONFUL OF SUGAR
A collection of poems that is open for your interpretation. Feel happy. Feel sad. Feel angry. Feel hopeful. Feel bitter. Feel better. I want you to feel something.

FAKE
Why can’t I be real?
Why can’t I feel?
Am I just plastic?
A toy? A doll?
A thing that can be waved around for fantasy
Am I the fantasy that you wish was your reality?
The beauty
The high life
The cars
The clothes
The money
But what about the emotional woes?
The mental toll?
The domestic abuse?
The drugs labeled “medicinal”
Entering the CVS with the new Fendi shades
Concealing last night’s binge
White lines inhaled and brown liquor on my breath
“Mahogany” concealer hiding Andre’s forms of affection
Babushka covered the pulled-out hair
Approaching the register
No money, but I pay with celebrity
No integrity, no prosperity
Just using the celebrity

TWO-SIDES
How could he do this to me?
Why didn’t I tell her the truth?
He ruined my life!
I just couldn’t do it anymore
How could he be so selfish?
I rarely think about what I wanna do
I did everything for him
I couldn’t do anything for her
I drove him to that dusty ass job every morning
I always wanted to quit my job. I never could make decisions for myself
I watched his kids! I cooked and cleaned and worked and I…
I thought that would make me different. I just wanted to be different.
I gave all I could. How could he do this to me? Not him
I’m sorry Inez
No.
I’m sorry.
AIDS? Why?
Please forgive me Inez.

I WISH I LIKED GIRLS
I wish I liked girls
Sleeping next to the foundation of what we call home
Cooking breakfast for the Nubian queen who can command the room with a simple strut
The bounce of her curl against her fingertips
The warm honey tone that she carries
The heavenly vibration she exudes from her hellos
The lustful desire for more when she gives goodbyes
The ebony brown rich in cinnamon Nia Long eyes
She used to be the top baller, now she is the shot caller
She knows the game, but she knows her name
What she has to offer
Her frequency is unmatched
Skillful with her words and masterful with her actions
Her fiery spirit captured my attention within the first gaze
Yet, she makes room for compassion
The magnitude of her selflessness is deserving of world acclaim
The crazy thing is that so many people know her
She’s a daughter
She’s a mom
She’s a niece
She’s a cousin
She’s an aunt
She’s a wife
She is home
Man, I wish I liked girls

NO CAP
East coast mindset, avant-garde flair
No cap
No caption
I promise
I swear
The garments that rule my limbs are an outer body form of my swag
The gruesome slaughter of everyday civilians is an everyday drag
I drag their skulls with me as I stride down the block
No mercy
Slay them down
I will do anything to keep that crown
Or is it just an image
A hat
An accessory
A reputation
The inclination to dress in the finest threads
For other people?

EBONY LOVECHILD
Ebony lovechild, catch a greyhound just to see you
A plane just to hear from you
An Uber just to hug you
A taxi so I can give love to you
A spaceship so I take you out of this world
A jet to keep you privately mine
A capsule so we’ll always have time
Time to fix ourselves
Time to grow
Not grow apart but grow
Growing into our flaws
Growing out of our toxic traits
Me leaving the drugs
You leave the self-hate
We both medicate in different forms
I lose my consciousness
You lose the scorn
You lose the hurt
You lose the daddy daughter memories
Of how he pushed you on the swing set
The dates to Mickey D’s every Friday
The ride alongs to Sade’s Sweetest Taboo
How many years has it been since the car accident?
He didn’t just leave
A part of you died too

CAN SOMETHING BE EVERYTHING?
After everything we been through
Still the same old issues
You don’t claim me in the streets
But you rather just creep
Man, I thought you had potential
Potential, credentials
Living in a high rise presidential
This could’ve been us
You too busy playing
We could’ve built trust
Not just lust
A deep connection
A spiritual bond
Yet all you can give is hookups at 2am
2 weeks later
My texts delivered
But no response

TRY
I’m not gonna lie
I tried
The consistency
The effort
The good morning and good night texts
Laughs
Was it flirting?
Or was it just a moment?
It hurt my heart to learn
I didn’t have yours
Your heart belonged to another
You shared your feelings for him to me
I thought we had something growing
But you had a completely different experience
I’m not gonna lie
I tried

A HUMBLE PRAYER
I pray to break the mold
I wish to conquer the world
Do I have what it takes?
To sacrifice anything that is at stake
All for the glory?
All for the accolades?
Or is there a greater desire?
To feel love.
Acceptance even?
Why do I seek that so fiercely?
My younger years were painted with insecurities, self-doubt and hiding
Hiding from hurt
Hiding from love
Hiding from pain
Hiding from disdain
Too gay
Be normal
Not smart enough
Be more
Not tall enough
Grow more
Not mature enough
Feel more
Why can’t I feel more?
Why can’t I loosen my grip?
Why can’t I beat to my own drum?
Maybe my drum is broken?
Maybe it’s too bruised?
Maybe it needs time to heal
Time to recover from the lashings
Time to recuperate from the bashing
What about self-bashing?
Looking in the mirror and resenting the image
Why can’t I see the God in me that my mother sees?
What does she see that I can’t see?
Why can’t I just be?
Is it fear?
Fear of judgement?
Fear of success?
“He’s so ugly”
“I hate his nose”
“A wallflower”
To be disposed of
To be ignored
To be thrown away
Is that my existence if I try?
Or could it be different?
“He is so beautiful”
“He looks like me!”
“I feel the same way”
“His words move me”
Could that be the thing?
All these years searching for it
The purpose
The gift
Is that it?

LOVE THYSELF
You steadily abuse my heart to no end
Yet you receive no punishment or reprimand
Beating my emotions as I lay there
Still contemplating whether I want to stay there
Trying to keep it altogether
But is it together?
Are we forever?
Is this just a moment in time?
A simple rhyme
Or am I really one of a kind
Do I have the power to make up my own mind?
I didn’t know that I could be strong
I just thought I was good at writing songs
Transcribing pain is my nighttime routine
Even though the words he spews can be cold, ruthless and mean
His actions create a latent resentment inside of me
I demonstrate it by throwing down a bag
Or rolling my eyes
To show my despise for his bitter lies
Or is true
Am I to blame too?
My need for love
My desire for attention
In seek of what I must rely on the man above
But what is self-love
Can I just give myself a self-hug?
Self kisses
Self-prayer
Self-trust
Is that self-love?
Am I doing that enough?
Should I leave and be on my own
But the loneliness of being alone
In my own home
But no, I’m in the zone
I’m getting everything accomplished
My to-do list minimizes within minutes
But I see the notification
You acknowledged me
After 2 days you acknowledged me
After a few days, you acknowledged me
I’m elated with joy because maybe it’ll be different
I engage in the conversation only to find out it is for one
My words take up all the space and you gladly bow out
Did I give too much?
Not enough?
Am I too forward?
Withdrawn?
Why doesn’t he like me?
What did I do wrong?
Maybe that is God protecting me from years of hurt
Decades of misery
Centuries of scorn
But that feeling of being held
When he stares into your eyes and for the first time you feel love
When he recognizes your humanity
I guess those feelings is what I aspire for
But self-love
Self-love is what I need
Self-love is how I grieve
Self-love tells me to just leave

FROSTBITE
The bitter sensation scratches my palm
The ice-cold chill ruptures my skin
Freezing the fiery warrior within
But it’s worth it
Because you tell me about your day
You tell me about the loved ones and former friends that went astray
You admit your indiscretions and flaws
You admit that in life you’re hitting a wall
You realize it’s a testament to your strength
You realize it’s a part of your story but not the end
You recognize the God in you
The kindness
The empathy
The motivation for more or whatever that means
You recognize you deserve to be seen
So, I’ll take the ice-cold chill of this drink
It’ll force me to think
How I can see those things?
Within me
Your eyes just gleam with joy
Your light, your poise
You inspire me
You reawaken the beast
You bring me inner peace

YOU STAY
He greets you with the most charming “Hello” in the office
You stay
He jokingly alludes to a possible outing
You stay
He smirks with glee when his invitation is accepted
You stay
He takes you to the fanciest restaurant in New York City
You stay
He knows exactly what to order for you
You stay
He shares his story of his abusive father and absent mother
You stay
You tell him about the father of your son
He stays
He walks you down to your apartment
You stay
He asks to come in
You reply, “Not tonight”
He doesn’t accept this
You try to shut the door
He places his shoe between the hinge
“Let me in”, he angrily states
You push the door, crushing his shoe
He winces in pain and kicks the door
You run to call the babysitter who is watching young Rocko
He chases after you
You reach for the phone
He pulls your Diane von Furstenburg gown that you spent hours deciding on
You fall to the ground
He violently pulls you close to him
You kick him with your black Yves Saint Laurent pump
“Bitch!”, he exclaims as he viciously tugs at your leg dragging you towards him
Your deep maroon nails claw the wood paneled floor for mercy
His gargantuan arms tussle your leg as if you were an unidentified corpse
You cry for your neighbor Jean, who always sneered at you with eyes full of malice and contempt
He thrusts your body towards him
You try to fight him off and gouge out his eyes
He slaps you with his iron clad rings
You become incapacitated yet you still hear faint sounds
“Yeah Jean, what should I do now?
“Kill her, what else would I pay you for?”, says Jean
You remember when you first met Terrence
You didn’t know that Terrence was married
You didn’t know that Jean couldn’t become pregnant
You just knew what Terrence told you
You accept the guilt
He delivers the gunshot

HEADSHOT
Your interpretation of life is captured through a snapshot of a moment
The landscape
The attention to detail
The editing and configuring of a moment in time
I wonder if people try to capture you
Your chiseled jawline
Your strong nose
Your alluring eyes that subtly capture my heart
You are a true work of art
You finally asked me to be a part of your exhibit
I am dressed in the finest clothes
Every curl is saturated in Cantu Cream
The Vaseline on my teeth will preserve my pearly whites
I stand centered
Then I stand for a profile
I offer pose after pose
Each camera click is a confirmation to my thoughts
I am the apple of your eye
You are the beholder and I pray that I am your beauty
I didn’t know that you have already seen beauty
Her lips adorn your cheeks
Tears run down my face
There were no words that I could speak
I run away realizing it was all a waste of time
But, maybe it’s for the best
Maybe love isn’t in my lifetime
I can only imagine what people would say
“Fags and weirdos” would be our labels
I couldn’t do that to you
You don’t deserve it
I’ll mourn the departure
I’ll declutter the thoughts
I’ll vent to friends
I’ll practice better self-care
Even though you were never aware
I’m breaking up with you

COME AS YOU ARE
I always go back to that same verse
Come as you are
I used it for the purpose of humor
I can come as I am
Sweatpants, durag and an IDGAF attitude
I did not realize what it meant
Coming from a land that will not see my humanity
A land that thought I was three-fifths of a person
A land that restricted my freedom after I was free
Those black codes followed me to the wide depths of Philadelphia
The enslavement crushed my soul
The discrimination tainted my mind
It is hard for me to see what I am capable of
Lately, I ask the man up above for guidance
For wisdom and strength
The fortitude to push on
The resilience to strive forward despite the punches
Despite the scolding hot coffee that you have poured on my head
Despite the intense water pressure of a 13-foot hose
Despite the unbearable, painful latch of a Rottweiler that has been sicked on me
Despite the constant name calling while I walk down the aisle of a supermarket
Despite the spit to my face
I wince and tug at my mother’s skirt
Begging to seek revenge
Urging her to fight with me
Mental violence
Emotional battery
Psychological torment
That is what my mother and I left with that day
When we got home, my mother did what black mothers do
She poured into me as if I were an empty glass
She reminded me of where we come from
We come from inventors, artists and innovators
Creators, orators and entrepreneurs
Healers, teachers and gurus
Our history is not an aside
Our history is a heart wrenching soliloquy that ends in victory
Our uprising is a testament to our DNA
The physique we are endowed with is a gift that only God can give
Thank your thick thighs
Embrace your full lips
Celebrate your curls, kinks and coils
Love your nose that is a symbol of your heritage
Adore the skin that can protect you better than any drug store SPF
No matter how light or dark, your brown is a sought-after pearl and do not take it for granted
Admire those strong cheekbones that can make sharper cuts than broken wine glasses
Appreciate the eyes that are reminiscent of your ancestors
From the deepest almond to the most vibrant green
The most precious diamond
The dark crystal
The hidden gem
That is what you are
My mother’s words have never left me
I pray whenever you are in doubt of your power
Question your beauty
Or if you are forgetful of your self-worth
That these words will keep you preserved
Remind you of your greatness
Uplift you in moments of despair and grant you the ability to come as you are

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