Home    Contact   Bio and Online Writings   Books, CD, and DVD   Black Magnolias    Photo Gallery   Links
                                   Table of Contents

Epigraph                                                                                    7

I.          Preface                                                                          8

II.          Introduction                                                                  11
                   Confession                                                              12
                    To God                                                                  14

III.          Regrets, Pain, and Sorrows                                          16
                          Hawthorn’s Blithedale                                       17
                          Revolution of One                                             18
                          Do My Fat Body a Favor                                  20
                          Empty Orgasms (Sexing to Survive)                   21
                          The Mirror                                                        24
                          Lowell’s Beethoven                                           25

IV.          Memory                                                                       26
                         The Coz on the Tonight Show                            27
                         The Smell of You on my Pillow                            29
                         Pecola’s Dance                                                   31
                         Daydreaming of a Wife on
                                   the Pascagoula Beach                                32
                         Birdland’s Angels                                                 34
                         A Girl Named Chris                                             36

V.          Anxiety                                                                           38
                         A Poet not by Choice                                           39
                         To You                                                                41
                         [i] Hate Christmas                                                43
                         To the Musician                                                    45
                         Hold on to Your Insanity                                       46
                         The Unrequited Calling (for Jonah,
                                   Moses, Medgar, and Martin)                       48

VI.          Love(?)                                                                           50
                         The Beat of My Love                                            51
                         You Are Sex                                                         52
                         The Reading of the Kiss                                         55
                         Everyday Is another Day to Fall in
                                   Love with You                                             57

VII.          Concerns                                                                        58
                         Where Is the Temple of my Familiar?                      59
                         To Be Post-Colonial Isn’t to Be
                                   Re-indigenous(?)                                           61
                         Letter to the Northern Negro                                   63
                         God Has a Napoleon Complex                                65
                         Tripping on my One                                                 67
                         Open Letter to a College Professor                          69

VIII.          Suicide Note                                                                   71

IX.             Reconciliation                                                                 75
                         Am [i] a Hypocrite?                                                 76
                         To Joshua and Natasha                                            78
                         Repentance:  A Sinner’s Prayer                                79
                         Hair Complex                                                          81
                         Exercise in Identity                                                   83
                         Friendship                                                                84
                         The Lord’s Prayer, 1998                                          85

X.               Dreams, Visions, and Epiphanies                                     86
                         Dream Catcher                                                         87
                         Pieces of Heaven                                                      88
                         Regeneration                                                             90
                         Ghetto Garden                                                          91
                         Revolution Is Born from Pain                                     93
                         My Psalm                                                                 95


3:18 in the a.m., and my mind won’t stop tumbling.
Outside my window birds doze,
but the video playback in my head’s cinema rolls on.
Blurred pictures of January and July run through my body;
a clammy finger rubs against my
humid and sticky emotions.
Now [i] lay me down to sleep,
but [i] seem to have missed the bus.
The paint splattering montage of wrestling colors
keeps raging swirling blues that shank olive dreams.
Spring suffers from multiple sclerosis.
Quick and sharp strokes of red,
the forest fires in my head burn the retaining wall
that separates wishes from will do,
as dashes of growling greens and yelling yellows
pour sweaty ashes into my bed.
A man’s bionic voice is the uninterested narrator
of my dime store soap opera of nights.
Prose and verse, fact and fiction, intermingle
like lint on poorly washed clothes as my ability
to perceive blurs the sandy edges of my mind’s coast.
Thus, the only reality [i] now know is Poetica,
and she is a wayward trope who sleeps with me at her will.

My memories are random snow flakes melting before hitting the jalapeno pavement of my conscience:  a tingling burned wrist, the electrical surge of the pain ran from my wrist to my elbow and through the tips of my fingers.
Since then that hand holds things differently than the other,
like a scorched lover afraid to love.
…the first time [i] told a girl [i] liked her, her face was granite
with a long straight line chiseled across for a mouth,
two round eyes like lights on a train.
The train is coming; the car always loses.
She cared as much for my love as she cared for the slugs
that slide beneath the undersides of the church.
It wasn’t her fault that she was beautiful.
Life is a lottery ticket that she had clearly won.

It was my twelve year old confession
that it took my tied tongue all summer to say,
words held like fine fragile china
cradled in the bubble wrap of my mind,
only opened and released with the last flower of summer
to the cold wind of her indifference.
That train just keeps coming.
With a sigh drenched with wet wretched rejection,
saying “So, what?”
[i] was seventeen before [i] asked a female to dance.
She sighed.

[i] remember striking out five times in one game.
Each and every swing, all fifteen, unique in their
varying manner in which they narrowly missed the ball-
an inch and a mile is all relative.
Each grunt and sigh with its own version of hot shame.
The pitcher smiling a cat’s grin from ear to ear.
The catcher’s mouth spewing with shit talking.
The adult umpire teaches life lessons that stick
with you like gum to the bottom of your psyche,
“Come on kid, let’s get this over with.”
By the fourth at bat, your arms are tired,
not from swinging but from carrying
your heavy sandbags of embarrassment.
A Mississippi summer is a magnifying glass,
and the heat scorches you like a bug.
The fourth trip to the plate,
a pony tail cute girl with bright braces amuses,
“Here he comes again.”
The crowd roars with laughter,
becoming a sea of pearly whites and tonsils.
After the fourth strikeout, the bench is four times as far.
Who keeps moving that damn bench?

[i] remember…

Shit…is the light bill paid…
the light bill is a humped back whale
docked on the sands of fear…
[i] mean will it be paid next month?
How about the cars?
(twin trouble tearing like termites the paper from my pockets)
Damn, is this room cold?
My scrotum seeks sanctuary in the cave of my stomach.

The last time [i] got some
is a memory wafting like a bird’s evening chirp.
The last time [i] didn’t perform well
is a memory piercing like a fire engine’s siren
with flashing lights and blaring horn.
My face flush with ignited ignominy.
Lying there board stiff, she sighs.
“Sorry ass, anorexic dick muthafucker!”
“If the muthafucker couldn’t fuck,
he shudda said so!”
She sighed again-
every sigh making my essence smaller than my penis.
Mountains, valleys, and oceans worth
of dispensing pleasure,
and [i] remember, most, when [i] clocked out early.
It’s like thousands of stick pins pricking my soul.
So, she revokes my man card
due to my insufficient funds of testosterone.

So, is it absentee manhood that holds my eyelids up?
Can you be a man if you have no penis place?
How do you teach little Black babies
when you don’t pollinate the curriculum?
It’s handed down to you from pallid men
who received their dicks from the Constitution.
So, they have always been the cultural fornicators,
and a three-fifth citizen who wishes to flower
must unscrew his myth and become
a bitch’s concubine, gelded and impotent,
unable to plant the seeds of life in his community.

What keeps you up nights???????????????????????????

Hold on to Your Insanity

The well-dressed carnival clowns
have waged war on the insane.
It’s open season on the mentally disturbed,
as if it’s our fault that our brains are too big for our bodies,
or is it that our creativity overcrowds the closets
of our minds, or is it that our imagination
is a river that floods their dry reality?
Don’t let ‘em take your insanity away from you.
Being sick is simply a liberation from
the castrated normality that surely leads
to a mid-life dive into the pool’s deep end.
It’s the peculiar people; we are the children of the Sun.
And we didn’t even ask to be planted in this scorched soil.
Tomorrow equates to a bucket of waste to us.
Hell, all of my todays and yesterdays look like twins.
So, erase from your mind the mathematicians
who looked in the back of the book for the answer;
it still doesn’t mean that they can solve for X and Y,
which are slipping on the slop of sliding sanity like
a church girl who doesn’t know how she got dirty panties.

Fantasy is the acting agent of reality…
[i] hear you George.

They, the normal mockingbirds trying to assimilate me.
Nietzsche!?!  Are the waters muddy enough for you?
Yet, yo’ ass went crazy, didn’t you.
Swimming in shallow waters will do that to you.
You stayed up there too long, man!
You stayed away too long, man!
Why would you want them malignant mockingbirds
to understand you anyway?
What made you think that people with concrete vision
could understand a man with water-flowing dreams?
Don’t worry because Heidegger and Derrida
molded and mainstreamed yo’ jazz
like Texas Instruments modified the scientific calculator
for any fool looking for the square root of zero.

My mind is mine no matter how muddy it is.
[i] didn’t fill out no application to be here.

They, the contracted scholars,
trying to put my round peg into their square ideology.
They tell me to, “Cut my hair!”
[i] tell them to, “Grow some integrity!”

Damn you and the Theory of Consolidation, Downsizing,
and Mainstreaming 404 course you took
to improve your Dow Jones value with the world.
You and your Borg mentality,
if resistance is futile, then [i]’ll drink a cup of death.

“Jesus, save me with your red wine!”

My God, why have thou left me on this rugged cross?
Janie, baby, [i] need you;
they want my inside Janie.
[i] need your pear tree.
Can you save one more Teacake?

The insane are scared.  The sane are paranoid,
locked in this windowless room together.
None of us want to sleep.
My soul weighs like a falling anvil.
It’s dark; [i] can hear the sistas on the mother board.

“[i]~~~~[i] love the Lord; He heard my cry.”

Why am [i] holdin’ on…
why am [i] holdin’…
why am [i]…
why am…

[i] need sleep with my dreams…

Ghetto Garden

Chalky crack residue and sullied,
damp condoms lead a trail between
toothpick thin, withered, decaying prostitutes and
rusted iron male statues,
as houses suffering from malnutrition
become eroding and leaning frames decorated
with cluttered, smashed old cans lay out
a path right up to the edges of the gritty, grainy soil.
The grayed film of hopelessness
dulls the Sun from the second-hand city.
An old man-a caramel skeleton in overalls-walks this path,
his arms nothing but rubbery veins, used muscles, and screwdriver bones;
a thin body but sturdy from the steel of his fortitude
carries an earth-colored hoe that has seen as many plantings as Moses.

The yearly revolution of spring puts him into motion.
First, the cutting of crabby grass and wayward weeds,
the removing of the remains of discarded lives:
a left shoe, three-fourths of a pair of pants,
worn car tires, something indefinable, a
rag that has been squeezed of his redness, and part of a hat-
what one finds in an abandoned ghetto time-capsule.
Layer by layer, he makes his earthly womb ready for fertilizing,
laying survival seeds of corn, greens, and beans
to sprout like a phoenix from the iron grave.

It’s summer when a ghetto garden
emanates a magical miasma.
No one dares discard anything in that green bed of reincarnation.
Pimps and gangsters tie their tongues in its presence,
and prostitutes walk a little more erect in passing.
This farmer receives more alter calls and hallelujahs
than the preachers or the police.
His gardens preach daily sermons
of Nature’s will to crack the concrete cage
and be as bright as a July sun.
Crops pushing up the soil, finding the groove of sweet survival
even in the gutbucket blues of blacktop decay.

The tall corn raises its regal head
and sways with a swagger.
The greens, so full and round,
wiggle in the wind like a peacock.
And the green and orange tomatoes look like
an ever happening egotistical sunset.
The garden is a universe of exploding colors;
the gardener the master keeper of this rainbow of possibilities,
ordering his world at will, this street corner Picasso,
painting gold meaning and diamond value to our ghetto existence.
In the middle of asphalt death,
the gardener finds the beat of Nature’s heart
in a river of artichokes.

Looking upon this scene,
the concrete citizens escape into Nature’s bosom,
realizing, if just for a moment, what it means to be ripe.