Observing Highlights in Line

I was standing in line at a Filipino fast-food restaurant. In front of me was a young couple, perhaps slightly younger than I. She was Filipina and he was black. Okay, so far, I could relate.

She was asking him what he wanted from the menu. To show that he was familiar with the food (more so to everyone else), he asked a clarifying question if the entrée was fried or boiled. Because, clearly, he knew the difference and he had a preference.

I don’t know what it is about men when it’s time to order food. They seem to think it’s their cue to put on a show. It doesn’t matter if it’s the drive-thru or a restaurant. It’s like the little hamster took out his testosterone bullhorn and, in military shout, set off the performance genes, saying, “Go! Go! Go!”

Mr. Familiar starts pointing at things in the restaurant, as if to physically assert that he knew what that was and what this was. Okay, dude, we get it. You had it before. Look, WE don’t even know what’s in it, all right? We just eat the shit coz we grew up on it. Now it’s a staple.

I think the most impressive moment was when he start throwin’ phrases in Tagalog, turning to his girlfriend, revealing, “Aww, pstkk, hindi naman krispee.” At that point, yea, I was impressed. I wanted to pat dude on the back and say, “You even speak it! Biggups on blending.”

I stared a little longer at her blonde highlights and shoulder tattoo and lace-back tank top. And I realized, I turned out to be the same type of girls I talked about in high school. I didn’t understand why they got green contacts, dyed their hair  and drove loud cars. I used to think they were fake, pretentious and unsure of their identity.

Like I had to wave a reminder at them, “Hellooo! We’re BROWN!”

I realized it isn’t uncertainty of identity. Those girls were comfortable. If you’ve been here long enough, you start to feel okay to change. A little color here. A little skin there. Piercing. Tattoo. You start to feel at home. You start experimenting with things and situations that you wouldn’t normally have back home. Or it’s because we’re NOT home that we take advantage of these personal freedoms.

But I can’t help but take inventory of my highlighted hair, my Islander daughter, my full legal name on my resident card, my credit score, my Starbucks coffee and ask, “Is this really who I am?”

Then I see my Bible, my notebooks, my blueprints for business, my poetry, my sandals and small rice cooker. Yes.
Yes, it is.

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They said I was brave…But what was the other choice?

My Beloved – Contemplation of Honor

My Beloved,

Is it passing your belief that God led me to cross the ocean at such a young age, to expose me to the love and art of sound that you know so well?
Was it only the angel’s clumsy coincidence that I swim through turbulence, only to immerse in books and stories that equal my conversation with you now?
Even recently, do you overlook the orchestrating of the Great Conductor, who removed things that served as my distraction, only so I could focus on our own wandering thoughts?
Have I come so far, to be devoured for one weekend and be delayed in time?

Would I wait, Beloved, until your work produces enough satisfactory paperwork for you to file? Would you wait, Beloved, until I am equipped to make the same drive you do?
All the while, are we busying ourselves with sensibility, and sacrificing the life that is “ours?”

How much longer do we have?
How many points do we each need to earn?
How much of each other’s cares must we take seriously, before we act?
Have I already made the promise and not told you?
Am I so foolish or faithful to do so?

What is Honor to me, Beloved? Or status? Or title?
Haven’t I grown beyond that?
Haven’t I grown to fill it?
What are presents and rings, flowers and chocolates, that show me my importance?
Would it be knowing you breathe deeply in the night and your knowing that I wake slowly in the morning?

What have I to study but righteousness?
What have I to sing but patience?
What have I to plant but devotion?
What have I to write but love?
What have I to listen to but your promise?

You choose how to honor me.

Lovingly,
M

[Originally written 7, September 2009]

An Issues Queen without a Crown

Sistah, Sistah,

I’m sure that choice to blow him up over text

Was wise -Now you checkin your phone every three seconds

Addicted to little red light

To see if he said something back

Man, I wish you was that

Ready when the boss books and church service

Come calling, for your attention

Instead, you battle ready for this dude, to get the last word in

You rah-rah righteous bandwagon on the feminists

Programmed to complain ‘bout how these men cant keep up

Excuse me, single lady, 2 checks from going broke,

You’re a statistic with nice make-up

Who u think u’re preaching to

With all the regret that you carry?

Remember, you took the ring off

And tried to learn me

you’re proudly divorced

doesn’t mean you were married

Rather be young, warm and hopeful than experienced, bitter and cold

Sistah sistah, now u stressing

Your issues gettin’ old

Because even your wild and ugly friends are spoken for

Whats the problem?

Clothes, a car, a job – you been a lady and  a whore

Aren’t you the whole package but no one’s trying to lock it down?

Must be them, can’t be you

An issues queen without a crown

Sistah sistah

Yea I get it

Theres always something wrong with them out there

Babydaddy’s got too much and single men know too little

None of them can keep up with your riddles

You go to work and vent your worth

Complaining omg on ur facebook

Post a picture with ur titties out

Talking ‘bout u got a “new look”

Get the kids in some these fotos

They make it look wholesome

That’s all right, it’s the new online you

Even ho’s deserve redemption

Sistah sistah

Been two hours and this good-for-nothing dude

Is not responding to your tantrum

And your pride wont say im sorry

Psshh, he triflin’

he  two seconds from getg deleted

It’s whatever, he aint sh@@ but

You didn’t really mean it.

So the next time you start puffin up, heated

rough temper Static texting on this dude

talking about, ” I don’t need him”

I can be ur friend or be real:

Sistah Sistah, yes you do.

A Single Woman’s Daily Companion – A Relationship Poem

I have experienced delusions of grandeur. 
I really want to complete things in order. 
I feel, however, that God has isolated me intentionally 

And needs to talk to me in private.

God wants me all to Himself and keeps me in hushed, knowing conversations, 

Subtle, inside jokes and gentle steering of where He requires me to be.

 
He makes me smile,
Reminds me I’m beautiful in the morning
Misses my attention when I’m distracted 

And guards me savagely from harm.

 
God sits with me when I write. 
He plays music while I hum. 
He coaches me while I exercise. 
He whispers confidence when I sleep. 
God prepares my money, structures my career and walks with my children.
 
God likes it when my eyes change color…
…when I work a little faster
…when I read His scripture twice over.
 
God pulls me close to Him when I’m angry
Dusts me off when I’m disappointed
Says my name in every language to talk to me.
 
“Love,” He says, “is right beside you.”
“That emptiness – is not loneliness.
That ache is not solitude.
That challenge is not weakness.
It is a chance for your faith to speak to me, to love, to heal.”
 
“It is I,“He says.
“It is Love. I will never leave you or forsake you. But get to know Me first.”
 
I gave Him my life, my heart and my choices.
He gives me Psalm 46:10, Proverbs 3:5-6, John 3:16, Psalm 71:1, 1 Corinthians 14:33.
 
And He said, “..Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” Mark 5:34. But before I go, God wants to talk to me privately.