Two Lies and a Truth

1. I want to be with you.

Those are the words I was always too afraid to say to you. I thought, if they were to be spoken, in the way I would have more than likely spoken them (rushed and clumsy with little to no eye contact), then they would have lit like the tip of a Molotov cocktail and blown our entire dynamic to pieces.

2. I want to be with me.

The mantra I recite in my head every morning before I drag my still lifeless form from my nightly grave. The real reason, I always told myself, that I refused to utter the former statement. As a woman of the 21st century, it would be a waste of a Black female body to shackle it to the same dead stone I would have been fated to in any century prior.

3. I don’t know how to be with anyone.

If the other two were half lies, this was the full truth. I don’t understand what it means to have somebody outside of myself and feel, with unconflicted conviction, that I have every right to reach out and grab that hand and mold it with my own. That it’s alright to fix my mouth to call out your name and expect you to turn, face absent of exasperation or annoyance, and look at me with that quiet, insistent knowledge that your name on my lips is poetry to your hungry ears.

I just ask that you forgive me for being so insecure in my belief that I can be loved. I never meant for it to act as red herring to my unfaltering belief that I could love you in every way I could never imagine you would want to love me in return.

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Omission by Default

There’s this person that pops up on my feed occasionally. I haven’t seen him in real life in months, but when I catch his stupid face, adorned with low-quality filters and that high-quality smile I used to know so well, on my screen, it perplexes me as to how the distance between us could stretch so long in such a short period of time.

I start to remember strange things, like how his hands were never cold. How he’d shove an imaginary bottle of Haterade in my face whenever I cracked a joke. Or, how he used to make me want to both maul and kiss him at the same time.

If I saw him in the real world, I wonder if my feelings on this boy would still be somewhat stagnant; that semi-indifferent regard, that glass veil that shields me from fully feeling.

Then I simply ask myself why I haven’t unfollowed him yet.

We Part Ways

I’m his last appointment for the day.

His meetings ran thirty minutes over, so he asks me to walk and talk instead.

It’s raining outside.

I don’t have an umbrella, but his is big enough for the both of us.

I’ve got long clumsy legs and he’s got a limp, his knee agitated from the rain.

We bump elbows and shoulders casually as we try to find a stride befitting our umbrella and unwieldy gait.

“Tell me what’s on your mind,” he says, as if we began this journey with the intention of gouging our souls of feeling.

I dodge an oncoming umbrella made slick and sinister by the rain.

“I focused on the image of the rose too much. The next thing I knew, I was talking about the degradation of the human condition over the course of time. That’s not where I wanted to end up. I wanted to talk about the purifying powers of fire. I wanted to write of the world in flames,” I confess.

We pass a huddle of the homeless, all trying to protect their blankets from the cold wet.

“What saddens me is that most women never realize how beautiful they are. Some societal thing—I don’t understand it exactly.”

As he’s speaking I catch the eye of a tall Black man, puffing on a blunt as he leans against a building, looking like he knows where to find all the time in the world and then some.

“But what I’m trying to say is that even the beautiful things come from ashes—people burn and they light the world with them. Take this feeling you have, utilize it. Write down what you feel, and don’t edit. Whatever you have to say is important enough to keep. If not for this work, then for life.”

I stare at the smoke billowing from a manhole in the middle of the street as cars run over it, the fog quickly kissing the front of each as they speed by.

The rain makes broken pitter-patter sounds on the roof of his umbrella, the noise unreasonably satisfying.

He looks to me and smiles.

I smile back.

We part ways.

A Visit to the House of White America

When the kettle whistles, do you let it continue with no regard for the throat which burns under the pressure of compressed water, the same water that has been boiled, burned, cooled, and boiled all over again? Would you tell your guests, strangers in your very house, that the bloodcurdling shriek means nothing; there is no water, you never even liked tea.

What Justifies Our Realness?

Mine are the ears that can hear your words crackle like fresh pepper as you speak your wisdom through lies.

What is your motivation?

How many replicated false prophets need to strip themselves from the core of your prophecies and tell the truths you never wanted before you decide that upon the foundation of our generation is the culmination of spoken and unspoken mediocrities.

I’d expect you to walk on all fours in your voyage for nothing, but instead you insist that illumination begins with unnaturalness and so you walk on two hands.

We are turning in a gyre of black thoughts, looking left and right and left again, never noticing we are the abyss because our goal is to never see anything.

What do you want for us?

Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge but the pursuit of reality.

rooney-web1Inspired by Aldo Tambellini’s “We Are the Primitives of a New Era”