written in May, sent in June – Friendship Poem

at 3am. i thought of how you mention your flaws.

and how your flaws put you through trials.

and how your trials give you wisdom.

then your wisdom fuels your examples.

your examples build your testimony.

those things highlight your leadership.

your leadership conveys your character.

your character initiates your progress.

your progress uplifts your gratitude.

your gratitude sharpens your perspective.

your perspective sweeps aside your obstacles.

your obstacles evolve into opportunities.

your opportunities mature into your victories.

and every morning, God has you again.

and you win.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

If I Can’t, Baby Girl

I can’t explain it, Baby Girl,
..why the calls get infrequent and it’s weeks with no word.

I can’t soothe it, Baby Girl,
.. you’re longing for father’s touch when you wake from a bad dream.

I can’t comfort you, Baby Girl,
..that you won’t feel lonely when your friends argue with their fathers and the space behind you is empty.

I can’t announce it, Baby Girl,
..when your maiden name changes ink to another gentleman’s and we hope that he’s 25% more than..

I can’t complete it, Baby Girl,
..when he orders your pizza with sausage instead of extra cheese..because he doesn’t know.

I can’t forecast it, Baby Girl,
..that the reality of your statistic is that your success rate is cut in half.

I can’t secure it, Baby Girl,
..that you can’t trust him to be on time for the daddy-daughter picnic, again.

I can’t clean it, Baby Girl,
..to kiss off those tears when you come home with no guidance from a broken heart.

I can’t prevent it, Baby Girl,
..when those lions seduce you and his voice isn’t there to guard your livelihood.

I can’t correct it, Baby Girl,
..because the image of his carelessness is scolding you with blind and disregarded love.

I can’t bring it down, Baby Girl,
..how you adore him and he’s bigger in your heart because he’s not in your every day.

I can’t account it, Baby Girl,
..how his latest minx is now the object of his affection.. and time.

But I will tell you this:
Loneliness and solitude have their own catharsis
And your only release is through God’s channel.
God answers any man’s shortcomings, including your father’s disappointments
Photos of your baby days, Discipline of your teenage years
Will amount to fierce argument of your womanhood.

In all the things I can’t do, Baby Girl, your Heavenly Father has positioned your prayer, experience and character so you can say:

”I CAN”

“For all they did cast in of their abundance but she of her want cast in ALL that she had, even all her living.” Mark 12:44

“If I Were A Beat” and “Change Your Clothes” – Slam Poetry Performance

Kadan Martial Arts Studio – Garden Grove, CA

Watch the performance here. 
Change your clothes, Baby Sister
You can’t go out like that!
People will notice the hurt on your sleeve
And the wilted flowers on your hat
Your top’s too low
That skirt’s too high!
While you’re walking,
They’ll call you a flirt
I know you already gave in a few times
But clean your face now
You gotta stay pretty,
Even if you’re hurt

Change your clothes, Baby Brother
You’re all covered with mud
I hear superheroes eat their vegetables
And soldiers wash off their blood
Wear the clothes that fit a young man
Uncle already told you
You go through more than one spurt
And watch your words you throw at your brother!
He’s bigger than you,
And he got here first.

Change your clothes, Uncle Sideline
I’ve heard you coaching me from there
When I went to that party anyway
You bailed me out of that high school dare
Roll up your sleeve of decision
Tighten the belt with quiet pride
We won’t know just how much you went through
So your nephews don’t need to “stand to the side”

Change your clothes, Aunty Careful
You stay longer against your will
Always picking up other women’s messes
And they still won’t get on the pill!
You got a stressful job
Wrap around that scarf of straightenin’
You walk tired but you’re clean now,
It’s no wonder you did a little drinkin’

Change your clothes, Daddy Absent
Hang up your jacket
We haven’t seen you in a while
It doesn’t really matter what kept you from us
What we need most is order, Daddy-style.
Dust off that guilt and distance
Clean out your pockets to lay down the law
Those support payments will be current soon
Your boots of fatherhood will stomp on strong.

Change your clothes, Spouse of Spirit
You’re what I really need to put on
Throw out those drab garments of arguing
And I’ll show you my black, lace thong!
Don’t our outfits go together?
See how the colors match our love?
Your reassurance is my warmest blanket
Your fidelity is my custom-glove

Change your clothes, Cousin Progress             
We’re tryin’ to keep up with you
All that bling and online chatter
What do your gadgets really add up to?
Your beeps and blips become our underwear
Feels like we put those on, first thing
We treat accessories like essentials
Interrupt our quality time when our phone rings
Now I understand it’s a way of doing things faster
These websites are the “new way to share”
Just make sure your intent is in line with your pace
And never forget the basic use of prayer

Is that everybody?
Mama..?
Mama, get ready.
Change your clothes, Mama!
You gotta look nice too
You pull back your hair in humility
And wear your sweater of strength and solitude
You were probably up late last night
Mending the holes in your children’s choices
Stitch of forgiveness and a button of hope
With a song to drown out the world’s cruel voices
Let me see what you’re wearing, Mama
Your dress is wrinkled with sacrifice
Iron it out, working lady
Because thanks to you
This family is dressed real nice.

Better Absent at Reggae Fest

Sun on my skin, breeze blowing in the outfield.
Lying in the warm, kissing light of the festival.
I couldn’t have him here. He hates the sun.
The familiar rhythms oozing out of the speakers, that steady beat and shake of dancehall. It’s monotonous to him. He probably hates that, too.
That’s why he’s not with me. That’s why I don’t take him places that I enjoy.
Then he’d hate everything if he’s uncomfortable.
Then I’d hate him for having to listen to it.

It’s a manageable scattered sea of people, vibrant summer colors, tank tops and dark Rasta shirts. Licorice root vendor and the recycling volunteers, wearing a lei of plastic bottles around their bodies. Go green, Rasta.

The women, strut their tightest festival gear, with open-toed sandals, dancehall high heels and Caribbean earrings.
Signature midriff shirt.
Ankle-length, halter top summer dress.
The delicate fusion of appearing “earthy” and “available.”

The men, parading themselves and sometimes their women.
Stylish shirts that might be new, gathering with their friends as if they had someone to choose, a decision to make, a mating dance, all done in the festival sun.

You can tell a lot about a man from his walk.
And here they were, gliding down the path from the stage.
Through the maze of blankets and last-minute picnics.
And they stroll.
Broad shoulders and wavy hair.
Strong jawlines and working hands.
But they are empty steps – with no purpose or standing.
Energetic bodies of vain promises.
An arena full of nothing.

No wonder the women are vigilant, alert in their feminine fashions to signal the parading male who will parallel a good life with the fierceness of his stride.
No wonder the men are frustrated.
This is where their women go – looking, window-shopping and exposing.
No wonder the women are suspicious.
To see their men, congregated in observant clusters, watching and studying the sea of listeners and availability, as if they had a course to chart, as if they had a village to protect, as if this is where their manhood boomed.

And I think of him and his complaining.
His sun too bright and the music too monotonous.
And how I’d never observe the ridiculous parade, if he were here.

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

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.