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blinks

to look upon faces,
sweet and harried all the same
looking back from black and white
pictures to match to names.
some in jobs and dreams
some only dreaming of jobs
behind bars, in cells,
stuck in time. lost in time.
some frozen in youth,
never to change, grow older.
buried beneath flowers and stone
peaceful til the end of time,
so is the way of life.
to be here and then not be here,
just a blink in time.
just a blink.

 

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how to be brown.

don’t be.

your brown skin,
how could it ever be –
so beautiful as mine.
your brown words,
how could they ever be –
so perfectly refined.
you’re just an imperfection,
a blemish on society.
you weren’t no slave,
you ain’t no slave,
your people put you there,
anyway. anyway.

how to be brown –
don’t be.

don’t protest with your peace.
don’t want your brownness near me.
keep your brown crime, brown violence
in your broken brown town.
do you speak English?
try acting white sometime.
here’s a tip on
how to be brown.

just don’t be.

**I hope that if you are reading this, you understand that this poem is not meant to insult people who are brown, but as a form of protest against racism.

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pretty.

he flicks the ashen remains of his cigarette
right into the forever of a gray night,
he’s got a cracked tooth,
‘can see it when his lips hint of a smile,
like they’re doin’ right now.
something that looks a bit like satisfaction,
rests easy on his face.
hands rest against his belt,
like he was born with one hand on his gun
the other on his hip.
the moon’s giving off just enough light,
he can see her once pretty face turning blue.
she looks at him, but her eyes don’t really see
anything.
except maybe a white light,
or just darkness.
depends on what a person believes comes next.
he tilts his head,
listens to her cough, vomit, choke
there’s a needle still strapped to her arm,
but he just watches.
shame, she might’ve been been pretty
if she wasn’t pretty messed up.
shame, she might’ve been someone
if she wasn’t someone who chose drugs
over her own son, from someone’s son.
shame, she would’ve been pretty,
forever,
if she wasn’t so pretty then,
if she wasn’t pretty vulnerable for a five year old,
if she wasn’t pretty depressed for a teenager,
if she wasn’t pretty lonely as a young woman.
if she wasn’t so pretty then,
she could’ve been someone…else.
if he would take a good look,
look at her eyes, clouding over like the moon
that’s watching over them,
maybe he’d see the blue eyes of a little girl,
could be his little girl,
if he had a little girl,
he’s just got boys.
so maybe that’s why he can’t see her
except through the eye of a needle.
he could have saved her life.
maybe he could have changed her life,
but he believes that she made a choice.
he believes she chose this life –
nothing could change his mind.
there’s a siren somewhere in the background,
theme music for a b-movie ending,
she’ll be happy now, right –
she can shoot up with Jesus,
maybe he’ll save her.
maybe if she makes it to Heaven.
seems like she’s already been to Hell.
be free, little bird, a shadow whispers.
he shakes his head at the shell of her,
here comes the ambulance,
snapping on blue gloves –
nitrile, not latex.
it’s too late to take it away,
but they do anyway.
bagged.
tagged.
evidence.
of another overdose.
they will carry his burden for him,
the one he refuses to take part of.
they know he could have saved her.
but the magic potion costs too much
and of course, she deserved it.
just like she did when she was five.
and seventeen.
and twenty-three.
because she was too pretty,
and then pretty fucked up.
so he watches them zip her up,
in a black bag.
he could have saved her.

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self-less.

Why don’t you just pay a-fucking-ttention,
here’s my words that I’m screamin’
why don’t you give a-fucking damn?
Why’m I pissed?
Why’m I fruster-fucking-ated?
Live my life, walk in my shoes.
Tell me, can you feel the rocks?
The ice, the glass, the grass,
through the soles of my shoes.
Your sole in my sole,
can you feel my soul?
I can see you standing there
in a circle of fire – why’re you a liar?
Don’t deny it – I can see it,
You’re just smoke and ashes.
Like everyone else.
Just like every-fucking-one else.
Watch your words,
mind your tone.
Fuck you, I’m going home.
What home you say?
Cause you been there,
you know how flame licks out,
ignites everything it touches.
You could burn a town to the ground,
you could set the world on fire,
burn it down tree by tree.
So, why’m I so angry?
You’re standing there in my shoes,
red flames racing up the laces,
remains catching in a gray wind.
Don’t blame me for these flames.
White hot mist is what you’ll become,
if you keep wearing those shoes.
Take them off.
Please take them off.

 

 

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and she rages against them.

Round faces, round eyes –
washed of innocence,
that’s not how it’s supposed to be.
A story unheard of,
suffering – is there something beyond that?
Something so deep that it warps
both the mind and the soul.
How do you take the sheep
down to the slaughter,
knowing what awaits them?
A shepherd leading his flock
into the waiting arms of wolves.
How black was your soul, shepherd?
How black was your heart, shepherd?
Who will bring vengeance to you?
Who will dress in wolves clothing,
who will rage against you?
Out of the shadows, he will come.
My ears are big to hear your lies,
my ears are big to hear their truth.
He will say –
and he will rage against them.
Our of the shadows, she will come.
My eyes are large to see your darkness,
my eyes are large to see their light.
She will say –
and she will rage against them.
Our mouths are hungry for revenge,
Our mouths are hungry for justice.
They will say –
and they will rage against them.
They will shed the clothing of wolves
and they will carry fire in their hearts,
fire and fury and vengeance,
and they will be the good shepherds.
Shepherds who will not be quieted,
by those who bring the sheep to slaughter.

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wolves.

Logically, rationally – she is sound
Half of her brain understands logic
It listens to reason,
It rationalizes quite well.
But.
The.
Other.
Half.
Is.
Chaos.
It is churning,
ocean waves in a hurricane,
tornado on a Kansas plain.
Fire waiting for oxygen;
a backdraft waiting to happen.
There is no reason or logic;
nothing even remotely rational
on the other half of her brain.
It is creeping blackness,
shards of shadows,
a hundred spider webs,
sticky and tangling.
Cold, calculating, chaotic
cruel, relentless, chasmic.
It is this side that creates
distance and disdain,
hate, void, and pain.
Chess moves, scrabble words,
meditation and yoga,
repetition, repetition, repetition,
Until she can reason with demons,
and rationalize with the devil.

 

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Self.

Fingernails up an arm,
down an arm.
red lines, then nothing.
Head banging into hands,
not so hard as to damage,
but to say stupid, stupid, stupid.
A brain that won’t work right,
a mind that won’t stop,
words that circle, in circles.
Breathing is an art,
regret is a black mark,
panic is the cause.
Control is the craving,
an addiction, but not quite.
You can’t cure an addiction.
Arms hug me tight –
You are okay and fine
Wait, those arms are mine.