Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I can’t concentrate

or I do a bunch of other things to not think about you

I’m harder than I think, find it easier to cry over a lover than my mother

but the women I date remind me of her

in some way or another

if I had the money, I would take you away from all of this.

I would.

I listen to myself talk to you and I sound like a mechanical, emotionless version of myself

have to detach my heart from my throat

so when my words come out of my mouth, they’re not drenched in blood.

I love you

more than my life

I’ve given you my life

it isn’t enough

if there is anything African women know a lot about it’s taking care of people

and guilt

because we should be doing a better job

of taking care of people

or maybe that’s just me.

it’s not that I’m angry

I’m not angry

or that I want anything.

just once though, I’d like to be able to call someone in my family for help

instead of always being the one that is supposed to help everyone.

this poem is a waste of time

and I never say shit like that

you hurt so much and I can’t fix it

the heartache of missing home, a broken heart that hasn’t healed

like the wound that has infected your leg

and that the doctors want to amputate

the pain will go away if they amputate

but what of the heartache?

if they amputated your heart

would the heartache go away?

I don’t mean to be morbid

I want to know what it would take

love letters to you don’t matter

the degrees I earn then leave the diplomas with you don’t matter

the books I’ve written & dedicated to you

the shows, the reverent way I speak of you

the prayer the prayer the prayers

the believing, the working and working to take care of you

it doesn’t matter.

your pain trumps it all

like an anvil dropped on an ant

or a butterfly set on fire

and I believe in love

more than your average human

I invite love in, take off her clothes, run her a coconut-scented bath, write to her, cook for her

in love’s name and wherever I see her in another, I reach for me, I mean I reach for the me I see in her,

open palms, full of believing

I should cry now. my mother is in the hospital. I am a hard rock. I am surprised at myself. I am not crying

my tears have so much company inside of myself

there’s a water park in my chest

this poem walks away from the crux of what brought me here

to these words

people who love me want to hold & comfort me

I act like I don’t need comfort,

swallow what feels like the beginning of falling water inside my nostrils

and the corners of my eyes,

into my brain

thinking myself into not feeling

I write poems for strangers and lick their day

leaving syllables sticking to their armpits, spine, fingertips.

I like to write uplifting poems

we can get through this poems

strong Naija woman poems

I do

I like to write poems that make goosehumps all over you

remind you of what’s in your chest

I like to write poems that illuminate the point

of all this

I don’t think this is uplifting

I don’t feel particularly sad or depressed, not distraught

like you’d expect one to feel when their mother is in the hospital

I don’t feel much actually, now that we’re talking about feelings

feelings are dangerous you know

especially mine

I have more feelings than opinions and trust me

I’m opinionated.

{this is unfinished

but I will stop here.}

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