To Whom It May Concern…

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I know I’ve written a similar poem years ago, but sometimes issues do not resolve themselves when we think we have resolved them. I’m thankful for this journey of growth that I’ve embarked upon. Though it is not easy, I’m fascinated by the man I’ve become.

 This may feel like another one of those pieces where hatred makes the ink bleed
But after 22 years
Half-hearted attempts to be whole
And the number of women I fractured in trying to fit jagged edges together
A period where I thought I had stopped hating you
But only being reduced to crying in the parking lot alongside one of those fractured women
After all that
Nah, I don’t hate you

I want to talk to you about
Fences.
You are a smart man
The smartest man I know
So I don’t need to tell you how they work
What their purpose is
Mine
For the sake of this letter
Are wooden
Antiquated
Old-fashioned
Reminders of simpler times

Everyone knows the purpose of this wooden fence
But we overlook the effort it takes to erect them
The soil has to be soft enough to penetrate
But sturdy enough to keep the fences upright

Here is where you come in
Forgive the hand holding
I can’t recall a time I held yours.

You grow your own vegetables
So you are familiar with the softness of the earth
You plant something in it
Hoping it’s in there deep enough that it’ll take something very strong for it to come out

For better or worse
A seed is strong
And even if the gardener isn’t a very good one
He believes in the seed’s ability to grow
As someone so skilled in agriculture
You sure were not that involved in how I came up
But yet
I feel your presence all the same
I’m not the perfect plant
But I’m alive.

Have you ever met a person whose very essence fills a room?
As if the divine were breathing the same air
Inhaling and exhaling energy wherever He is
That’s you
Thus, that’s me
And when I realized I got that from you
I could feel you surrounding me

But I’m talking to you about fences

So here I am
Forcing this fence into the ground
To keep
Whatever
Whomever
Out
No sign needed
You know what fences are for.

But I never looked at what I was keeping in
What did I encase inside these fences
That I should have let out?
I built myself a prison
Hammering away at confinement
Calling it compartmentalized emotion
Believing I released it
When I never even made a door

Protection suffocated without an exit
And the fences felt like they were closing in
The more my place started to look like yours
The more I despised you
The more I despise you
The more my place started to look like yours.

I kept memoirs of you around my front yard
A yard sale with nothing available for purchase
In desperate need of home improvement
I hid the parts of you that I didn’t want nearby residents to see
Small talk grew smaller
The way I ran in the house when confronted with emotions
I couldn’t be vulnerable because I built something that didn’t let–
Well, you know fences work

The few times I’ve been in your presence
I feel like lost Scripture
A translation of John 3:16 solely meant for me
Someone with a divine presence sent his son to die for many who didn’t believe in him
But through him, there is protection in his resurrection
And I just want to say
Salvation is something we all need
And it can only come through forgiveness.

And in that parking lot
Next to a woman who felt more like a passing neighbor
Who I kept enough between us that I could only see parts of her
A storm was brewing
After seeing that movie
And crying a hurricane of tears
My fences were uprooted
It took something that strong
To make me stronger

So I’m writing you this to let you know that I see you in me
And I’m not afraid of it anymore
I don’t construct things to confine spaces in my heart
And I no longer make fences
To make sure anything that doesn’t need to be here
Can be let go.

I love you.

Faded Ink

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My tattoo faded because I didn’t take proper care of it.
It says, in not-so-clear ink,
“Black King.”
Ha.
What do I know about royalty?
Other than that I’m supposed to be…
A king…
To reign…
To have an empire built by my hands.

I set foundations for sand castles
The foolish man with a false sense of ambition.
Midas with quartz.
Creating overvalued ideals I convinced myself were golden.

I do not deserve the ink on my arm.
Now that it is begun to disappear,
I need to earn it back.
Build my domain.
Live up to the throne and ascend.
Find the king within and rule my empire how I am called to do.
Then my tattoo will be restored.

 

Peace.

Buried Alive

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My soul’s listless, quietly watching me attempt to find a place in a cemetery for my ambition
I grabbed my shovel and started digging
A final resting place for my goals’ existence
Piling on the misery
More dirt. More shame.
More hurt. More pain.
Six feet in sorrow
Talents in a grave while I walked around hollow
No real explanation. Just afraid of the light from tomorrow.

I can’t answer why. Just the x I plotted
But I wasn’t looking for a fortune.
I was inearthing my heart, lungs, sternum, and even bits of my esophagus
Emptying my treasure chest into that sarcophagus
Transforming the scene from a graveyard
To somewhere in Giza

I mummified my aspirations
Encasing them then building a pyramid of my lamentations.
Who knew Langston Hughes and King Tutankhamun had so much in common?
Hughes penned about deferred dreams
And Tut became one at 18
And here I am mirroring both scenarios just because I was scared to let my self blossom.

But before the lid was completely closed
I snapped out of that pointless grief
Who knows what new detrimental goals would have replaced those had I not rediscovered my belief?

I am six feet, 228 pounds of the finest
sands from the deserts of Kemet
Stronger than Egyptian musk. Brighter than the Sahara Sun
So whether or not I sphinx up and roar.
Rah rah like I’m chanting the name of the Sun God. It’s still God that you’re hearing
And if it’s God’s gospel and I’m some sort of apostle, then how was it possible for me to ever be fearful?

I tore down that mausoleum
Took a wrecking ball to it
Figured out I have no foundation for which to kill off my dreams
I needed help to have them rescued
No reason to abandon them
I had them wrapped in doubt-woven bandages
So maybe my gift is Lazarus
Because the Son form of the Trinity was so disturbed with me burying my ability in the tomb of my fears
That it moved him to tears
And wanted it to rise and appear
Before him

I am here to be for Him

And so, the story hasn’t ended. More chapters have to be written
So even though I had a Revelation I’m just scribing another Genesis
That’s why I have my left forearm inked and imprinted
With my name’s Hebrew meaning. This here is Biblical
So whenever I pick up the pen I’m reminded where this comes from

I nearly buried myself alive.
I almost gave up my everything for nothing.
Before it even became something.
I’ve put down the shovel.

Peace.