10 years ago, a poet

I found myself, the other night, curious of my abilities, wanting to remember a different piece of me. It was late. Belly down on the bed, lights out, iPhone in hand with only the wind to fill the quiet of my bedroom. 

Have you ever made your own self nervous? Like you alone made your heart race and your comfort lessen because you just simply could not turn your thoughts away?

This was me the other night. Tucked safe and sound in my bed, in my home, and yet my heart tightened in my chest as I did -- of all things -- read a dropbox folder full of my poetry from a dimmed smartphone screen. Strange, right? Right. I almost felt guilty, like I was doing something wrong, but it's not that I was doing anything wrong, not on the surface anyway. But what I read, parts of it felt wrong. Some of these lines, some of the poems were so filled with... I don't know, so much of something that I cannot currently describe, and reading them, remembering the headspace I was in when I wrote them... it was almost like I was creepin' on someone else's life.


Even still, on this 5th day of September as I drink a sweet cup of coffee and as D'Angelo's "Untitled" soundtracks my thunder-filled Saturday afternoon, I am remembering what I felt as I read ten-year-old love poems.

Like this one, which in two days, was written exactly ten years ago: 

What Marks a Hand
(Your hunger is the poem I cannot fill. This is my fear.)

Three grey-black dots triangle mark a left hand,
turn the tender skin between thumb and first finger
into a scratch piece of Braille, three words. Spirits.

Often times to see is to be blind. So my thumb
reads the dots for me, the ink of intention.
Mí vida loca. My crazy life. Your crazy life:

the Jungle in a city and animals eat children.

Scars scuff your beautiful brown skin,
tattoos of names mural your body: Judy, Eloise,
Tommie II. The deepest scars never surface

themselves—death greets the living like a southerner
greets a neighbor from the porch, and boys play
rough like concrete smoothes the more they fall—

so you brought them to attention. I wonder
as I wander still over the stories written
into your beautiful brown skin what lips glossed

in humility have taken to this part of you, kissed you           there
on that place, intimate because in usual exposure
neglect heightens, kissed you
                                                there, kissed better
into your crazy life. Kissed you

(here)

a woman can warm the moon with her kiss and
straighten crooks and kinks, can grow a man
from a boy with her kiss. A kiss can calm crazies.

But not for boys, especially little black boys;
they look for craziness. You looked for craziness
didn’t you? I know you did. It marks your hand.
 


Hmm... It must just have been the night or maybe the memory of being first a poet before anything else that had me feelin' some kind of way. Because now, as the rain starts to come down and my coffee is gone, I read these words with a slight smile. I remember loving them, words... all of them. And needing time to be with them, to work on them, to piece them together into what -- ten years later -- would become a memory.