Day 17 of 30


one thing i’ll
never forget
about bedtime
is the feeling of
father’s tired lips
on forehead and cheek
every night his beard
dusting the day off
but his breath
never broken
never hesitant
happy like this is how
i love you
feels son
like this is what
man means

Day 15 of 30

LESSONS (because I spent the day with my mother and we shared some random memories and now…this.)

my mother, i savor, as she inches older,
i think of the things she taught me way back,

like how to be braver when lifting the boulder,
like how to envision the strength that I lack,

how even if I am the glazer and molder
i can’t shape a life lived without a crack,

to know deep the pride of the struggling soldier,
to walk like a king, though treated as jack,

how it’s never safer to settle and smolder,
and airing out anger can avoid attack,

to speak like a razor, and hug like a holder,
to care and to cut such remarkable slack,

how it’s best to wager the chips on my shoulder,
and no matter what, to always bet on black,

to love like a laser, file hate in a folder
and leave it a pointless and pitiful stack,

my mother, my savior, as she inches older,
her weight and her warmth grow thinner and colder,
i think of the things she taught me way back,
i think of these things to keep me on track

Day 14 of 30

LOOMING (for DC, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Harlem, Chicago, Oakland, SF, Philly, and on and on and on..)

those of us
from here
know the feeling
of someone
tugging at the
rug we’ve been
resting on

the one we
wove once
referred to
as rag
soon to be
renamed by
as tapestry

Day 13 of 30


been in search of a happy poem
one that dont need no smile

one that chops the ends of its
words whenever around friends

one that knots its knuckles
with its mothers

one that thinks of kissing
then kisses with nothing on its mind

one that licks its fingers
after eating fatty food

one that smells of language
with a linger of simple soap

one that witnesses children
dance and dance a happy poem

one that don’t need no smile

Day 12 of 30

DOIN’ ME (for the haters)

it ain’t that i ain’t got no voice
or sanctimonious song to sing
it ain’t that i think i’m too good
some mannish prince or boyish king

it ain’t that i despise your choice
of gift or curse you opt to bring
but just so that we’re understood
i mind my business, do my thing

Day 11 of 30

A SIGN OF GOOD WRITING (For Brook Stephenson, especially since the homie Tyehimba Jess won the PULITZER in Poetry. I’m sure he’s smiling.)

there was a period
when i spoke of you
thought of you in this way
like your life was parenthetical
an aside or perhaps elided
an open em dash to illustrate
an interjection or interruption

but perhaps

you were such a complete
sentence supreme subject
verb agreement
spun effortlessly by a hand
so unseen so unwilling
to compromise on

that a period
felt more like a puncture
to the lungs of us left