Category: Poetry

Fogs and Forgetting

Best served With: Lost Without You by Freya Ridings.

Image result for I remember emotions, not memories

In my 20 years of age

My mind has mastered this body well,

It knows when to eat,

To sleep and to piss,

To talk and to shit,

To stand and to sit

I know it all; from iris to rectum,

I own it all; every single bit.

I know.

I know the pain endured over the years.

The pain built on glass hearts and flickering care.

But I lost my sight and sense as I loved you.

I know exactly where I went wrong.

We should have never–.

 

To Desire A Spine

Best Served With: West by River Tiber ft Daniel Caesar

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRsoE8q5sE8&pbjreload=10

Image result for unwanted child

Sometimes I wonder about porcupines,

About the needles on their backs,

Are they just cautiously lined platoons

Skinny stems of soldiery savor,

Natural armor for defense

Against the world?

 

Or are they spoils of a forgotten war,

Against the playground of fate,

Savagely scratching scores of silky skins,

Each one a nestled reminder of a stained past

Greeting an amber future.

 

Sometimes I feel like a porcupine,

With all these needles sticking to me,

Each of them gnawing at nature’s creation

Convincing; it is an abomination,

 

Transparency sloshes in its hollow sheath,

Either to deposit a whisper of change,

Or withdraw a wisp of abnormality,

A syringe’s worth.

Always a syringe’s worth.

 

Sometimes I envy porcupines,

As, in these white halls and spotless floors,

I feel like a neglected child;

A mistake nature never meant to make,

But one she could not be bothered to erase,

 

A stain in sanitized sheets.

And these needles;

They help me fight every day,

Only to live enough to fight another day

But when your fellow fighters all fade or fall,

It gets incredibly lonely.

 

Sometimes I wish I was a porcupine,

I could control the needles on me,

I could taste the warm summer breeze on my skin,

Bask in the sunlight as it dodges between tree leaves,

But the first thing I’d do is remove all my needles,

Because I know–

I, I just know.

That I will feel nature’s love as they regrow.

 

 

Paper Soldier

Best Served With: Ocean by Odunsi the Engine & Nonso Amadi

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y01JiRfrDu0

Image result for bottle up emotions

 

I am a strong, independent man,

Who fires cannons and lovely arms,

Gunpowder caresses my nostrils,

Saluting metal skin along the way–

 

I remember my first tour,

It started late 2011,

In the back of a festive peach quadrangle,

With a bully and a need to “be a man”,

It was the first time my fists developed lips,

Every word nurtured blood-basked letters,

Every sentence had a bone-cracking full stop,

 

In the barracks

Between the suffering dust awoken from his sleep

by nuclear emotion,

and the deafening crackle of violence as it riddles

the mind with holes,

Lays a man of few words.

You know the type; strong but silent,

Piercing brown eyes that shy short of singular,

Mud-like muscles; fluid but firm,

An Immovable mountain, permanent as death–

 

 

It ended late 2011,

With a bloody nose,

A punch to the throat,

And a great big bottle of anger,

 

I am a strong, independent man,

Through my life, I always have a plan,

My world is perfectly circular,

In it, I am God and as I so wish,

It is perfect not circular,

Because a circle starts and ends in the same place,

It is the holy example of uniform,

But perfect and uniform are curious strangers,

 

I understand the troubles of the fairer sex,

And to show my support, I try my best,

I laugh, joke, talk and even cry with them,

But if you stare at my tears hard enough,

You’ll see a giggling choir of biased men,

Who then hail in hilarious harmony that:

 

“The difference is clear

The difference is key,

Durham and champagne,

Is not enough to breathe,

Sneak between my sympathy,

I’m sure you’ll see:

I only choose to hurt because

Nobody hugged me.”

 

To my peers, I do not hate

Their pain, I do reciprocate

Loose clothing the best bait

She really wants to get laid

Wear that skirt, let me chase

Hold you down, have a taste

Struggle not, touch your fate

In public, this game I play

In private, I choose to rape.

 

I am a strong.

Independent.

man,

I will never depend on a woman,

I will never be vulnerable,

Never even learn to love,

Because emotions are the grandchild of weakness,

 

I am a man of few words,

So, I would rather drink and start a fight,

Than tell you that I hate it when we fight,

Would rather run to gamble and play,

Than tell you that I wish you would stay,

Would rather hurt the first person I see,

Than show you how much you hurt me,

See I am a man of few words,

And I have to play the part,

So, I would rather sit and not speak,

Than let you listen to the cries of my broken heart.

 

I am usually a strong, independent man,

But I lose all my pain, walls and plans,

When I let you lend me a hand,

Honestly, I don’t know who I am

 

Elano’s Notes

Coming from an African home, I realize the faults and frailties of traditional masculinity. There is a need to act like a “man” and think like a man. It creates narcissistic, emotionally stunted men. Men who cannot hold partners down. Men who cannot fully trust or show love half as much as they say it. Broken men whose response to traumatizing experiences is to shove them under the carpet. Men who face adversity, problems and challenges with their pride and ego instead of their brains. I have never understood the adage that “men don’t cry” that I was told growing up. Men cry– I’ve seen it. Just like women do. their tears are just as salty, their faces get just as wet, snot comes out sometimes just the same.

I am not less of a man because I can tell a woman, child or whomever that they hurt my feelings. I am not a child because I can be vulnerable. It should be that simple, really.

 

White

Best Served With: Fragile by Eryn Allen Kane

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn00YGkNHr8

Image result for glass half empty and white

 

White is such an impressionable color,

Purity’s playground yields no lover,

Graceful swing sets dance and suffer,

Redemption breathes a putrid odor,

 

White is such an impressionable color,

White lines can call you to hover,

White straps will tell you to shiver,

White is often clear as the prod in your prognosis,

 

White is such an impressionable color,

White leaves a smell but has no odor,

And when a try births a way of life

White whispers; “sell your back for me,

sell your lips to get a taste of me

And as I flee sell your waist for me”

Until it pushes out a life

Siren that heralds your strife

Discarded destinies; bits of a bride.

 

White is such an impressionable color,

Quick to stain and hard to wash,

O, if Hades had another life,

Perhaps Cerberus would be a German shepherd,

His hand the bedrock of joy not poison,

And the underworld naught but exotic,

But Fate remains an obedient soldier,

Following the rivers of life and time,

 

As a child, his first toy was a bullet,

That doubled as his father,

He used it to toy with lives at the butt of the barrel,

But it protected his from thugs and scoundrels,

He fell in love with Robert Frost,

And read his work to maggot-infested sand structures,

With a bullet resting in their brains,

 

He never left his streets though,

And the bloodier the battlefield,

The bigger he basked in it,

Remember, white can be stained or spiced.

 

White is such an impressionable color,

That morphs to blue when I go to school,

Painted silence I stifle from chuckles and good intentions,

Whose eyes gloss over the black in my nappy hair,

The depression seated in my eyes,

The messengers of violence tapered on my skin–

Their stamps praising their destination—

Those eyes, those cold eyes,

Tell tall tales tackling the tenacity of tempting trivia,

Because gods don’t lose sleep over the plight of peasants.

 

White is such an impressionable color,

And I choose to shape that white

Which is why this little black boy,

This failed black boy,

This typical black boy,

Is a duty of mine

Thus, I will ask paper questions,

And show glass concerns of his body,

 

He has no white left,

Corrupted at his best,

Disgusting as incest,

Dare I test?

Dare I tell him lies about himself,

Dare I tell him true happiness sips the surface of my skin?

Dare convince him to work hard till he hits the glass ceiling?

And when he irritates me,

Dare I tell the truth?

 

That he infects his world with his oyster,

That his inferior skin places a monkey between humans,

That his scars are so deep that his white has frayed?

Remember, white can be stained or spiced.

 

White is such an impressionable color,

Da Vinci can draw on a canvas but so can Loki,

And Loki, in his twisted mind,

Drew the story of a black girl,

Grey eyes, natural hair, tough but slender,

High School, Harvard, big time moneymaker

Whose abusive father’s voice faded the more she achieved,

But cannot hold a man down,

Because deep down she still feels like a lucky slave,

Who happened to find good leftovers from the master’s table

 

See every time her father hit her,

He did so with both hands,

Upper and lower,

And every time Daddy apologized,

He stroked with both hands too.

Daddy is in jail now,

And she owns many men,

Many, many, many men.

So, Loki’s story ends up seeming like Da Vinci’s,

But remember, white can be stained or spiced,

And the painting is never truly free of its canvas.

 

 

Should I be free to want more,

Should I be free for freedom’s sake?

White is such an impressionable color,

But white,

In its truest form,

Is free.

 

Elano’s Notes

When I think about the glass half empty or full dilemma I realize it is all about perception. Every situation can have two contrasting perspectives; one good and one bad. We all enter this world as blank slates. Our environment, experiences and ecosystems write on us and the writing can be artistic or destructive depending on who is reading. Sometimes, I am stunned at how easy it is for people (myself included) to judge and conclude on others based on something as basic as how they look. We often forget that people are complex creatures who are often multi-layered and who have desires and worries just like we do. So I cannot help but think of writing–any writing– as a shackle to who you are because it allows others to judge and assume, sometimes before you even get the chance to say your name. That is why white is so impressive to me. I am amazed that such a boring color is so historically rich, textured and dynamic. White can be everything and nothing at the same time. It is a blank slate but it will always be a clear part of its end-product.

I am not a part of my end-product. Are you?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Kingdom Of Kush

Best Served With: Pink + White by Frank Ocean

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzS3WG6__G4

Image result for kingdom of kush

My darling boy,

You wear the crown,

She lost her faith,

You’re happy now,

And as she cries,

You are aroused,

You took her heart,

And ripped it out.

 

My loving king,

Your throne awaits,

In this here club,

You are the bait,

Attention starved,

Is your excuse,

You know the pain,

You caused your muse,

 

If this was love,

Would you have danced?

With flashy lights,

And flirty hands,

You tease,

You touch,

You flirt and more,

And then you claim,

Forevermore,

 

Climb this hill,

Mount this flesh,

Show the world,

That you’re the best,

You deserve love,

You deserve care,

You crave her time,

With none to spare.

 

And so, drink till you’re dizzy,

As we should, should we be foul,

Screw the life and trust you built,

Your only care is here and now,

Ellen, Jenny, Olive and Kat,

None remembered after that,

In their eyes you left a joke,

Thus they left you none to hold.

 

But you lose this game of love,

In fairness, a good attempt,

You gave all; from teeth to dove,

Though mistakes cannot repent,

 

You thought your love was strong as stone,

I hope you see it flicks like wax,

As it just hates to be alone,

Quick to burn but never lasts.

 

So, when she paid you no mind

You smoked her behind

And chose to frolic with females,

 

My darling king,

You are cupid’s stupid little joke,

But don’t worry

As when your act blushes a bush,

At least you rule a kingdom of Kush.

 

Elano’s Notes

This one was personal– a product of my regret dabbed in a bit of longing for a lost love. I think it applies today though. Just thinking about when people cheat on their partners repeatedly with a momentary fling, I think it must give them an adrenaline rush. It must be what it feels like to be more than a man. Why else would someone throw away months or even years of built up trust and love for brief breaths of boisterous euphoria, no matter how pink and supple or hard and musky it is? I guess it is also like a parent of a family choosing a 2 door Ferrari over a sturdy 4- door sedan. The sedan is familiar, reliable and routine but the Ferrari is…… well a Ferrari. It promises experiencing the road of life like never before. It is exciting, spontaneous and, ride it fast enough, it lets you dance with death which, let’s face it, makes you feel alive.  It makes you question whether the love you had was really love. I mean, if they truly loved you, they wouldn’t cheat. Right?

…Right?

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments.

Garden of Eden

Best Served With: Lighthouse by Patrick Watson

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R23bifAbWWs

Image result for garden of eden

Image result for garden of eden

Imagine a rose to that gardener,

As he preens and sheens day and night,

She blooms in harsh and fair weather,

And glows in the darkest of light,

Captivating him completely,

Is there no justice left in sight?

For she defies his reality,

But deeply bears a careless spite.

O, how could he have known her stem?

When she herself was left unsure?

He gave his all for her reprieve

And naught but thorns did he endure.

 

He always thought you would leave, didn’t he?

But please don’t take this dream away from me.

 

Elano’s Notes

The Gardener metaphor continues…  Infatuation is a beautiful thing, it is the most vibrant part of love and often times feels like a tornado. It is surreal in that sense, and the object of your affection can do no wrong. But when that tornado dies down and life dishes out a reality-realizing slap, you may find yourself without that person. If that happens, you only have your memories with that person, memoirs of who they were to you, the dream of the love you shared together.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Of Cracks in Love

Best Served With: Easily by Bruno Major

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lARENhXPftU

Image result for cracks in love

Alas my lips are heavy with guilt,

Perhaps silence should rule the day,

My heart preserves this love I built,

My hand broke it in but a day, I

Pillaged, plundered and ripped asunder, I

Weeded with care and touched another, I

Did not mean to cause such blunder, but

Bless my soul; I wished for more,

Your touch, your time and love are all,

Sweet heaven and earth denied my call,

I may not touch nor stalk nor stall.

When weak, my liquid mistress beckoned,

I drank and drunk the well

So, knell the gospel bells

For the sinner has stories to tell,

Though he loved and loved he well,

All is lost.

The gardener toils restlessly,

But if ever he denies a day,

The weeds infest incessantly,

And to fix; there is no way.

 

Deep down, I knew you weren’t with me,

But a man can dream can’t he.

 

Elano’s Notes

Love, because of how vulnerable and open it makes you, can be a lot like Jenga– a single wrong move is enough to bring the whole thing down. It is like being drenched in scalding water and then left to dry in the sun. It is even more painful when you realize that it is your fault, to some extent. And it is always your fault, to some extent. Sometimes when you lose love, you think of every excuse you can. A reason, any reason, to justify yourself, to ease just a little bit of that pain. The truth is, you are at fault and will not truly move on, until you accept that and learn to live with it. Or maybe that is just me.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.