Take Place

Been rubbernecking. Keeping an eye out for where time took an odd moment to add an extra scar to the road.


The last ditch that took some effort to carve. To assure a certain waylay for someone just needing to get away.


The truth for all its power sets everybody else free but itself. Instead chooses transformation. Settles for concealment. To be protected from witnessing itself.


Can’t turn my back on myself but my back also won’t look me in my face so what good’s a back anyway? If it didn’t come with the body why would anyone even bother having one?


The faults furthered the cause of the tectonic shifts. Line breaks will always be a part of this world. Each side is a stanza. The earth quakes suddenly understanding another version needs to take place. This place.


If I Die In Custody

If I die in custody it’ll be something I never wanted even when I wanted  to die every day since I realized it doesn’t get better.

If I die in custody I won’t be listening to the Idiot by Iggy Pop but y’all should be for me.

If I die in custody at least my best friend won’t have to find my body in my apartment a week after my death. Although he still might have a body to ID.

If I die in custody at least my mom is dead and won’t have to cry about it.

If I die in custody tell my dad I didn’t do anything wrong. Tell my nieces and nephew your auncle would want you to laugh about it. Y’all best be cracking jokes about these cops, this city, the system and this pansy.

If I die in custody you make sure I get a good hashtag. Use the name I gave myself. Forget what the birth certificate says. Spell it all out. Don’t stop at a nickname. And use the right pronoun.

If I die in custody make sure the world knows they got me for being black, Latino and queer. I had three strikes against me so I guess I deserved it.

If I die in custody make sure a white dude writes a poem about it. I want as much airplay as possible.

If I die in custody I’ll never know what happens in Swamp Thing #40.

If I die in custody they got one more geeky nigger off the streets.

If I die in custody smoke a  bowl for me – the good shit. And don’t waste no liquor on me. My soul’s all good now. You need the drink more than I do.

If I die in custody I hope somebody comes up with some better ghetto camo so y’all can hide from cops after I’m gone cuz y’all’s probably next.

If I die in custody I know who I’ll haunt.

If I die in custody I might have gone out like a punkass bitch. I’m not gonna lie. Ain’t no reason to start frontin now. I might have cried. Maybe I begged. But it’s only cuz I knew I’d miss y’all and maybe you’d miss me too. I’m not afraid of dying but I don’t want to go out like that without saying goodbye. I’m not gonna leave without letting y’all know I’m out. We in this together till I say I can’t take no more.

Should Beware

The gentle caresses of a curse lull to sleep both grace and karma neither quick to action and fate is just another name for coincidence.

Foolish thing desire,

A hollow bell summoning attachment to the feast but there are no silver grains of rice and apricots with emerald pits but empty as coconut relieved of its juice.

A cocoon  leading to metamorphosis or worse yet, back to caterpillar, crawling up branch to find that particular leaf.

There is some happiness stolen from it bite by bite.

Eating without satisfaction but not eager to see Ramadan or Lent. The fast seasons leaving one begging for dates devoid of tahini or just a scrap of meat and wants feel more like needs.

But this could push moth into being

Then the sweaters should beware.


Times like now when the snow has given the town its first taste of winter, this is when the talking starts. Conversation before becoming cabin-bound for the next few months. Get all the advice possible. Learn a few things. Make lists. Fill up on something for the lonely times. Give the old dreams some new playmates.


These days the air is delicate. It breaks easily for words. The summer’s frost between two at the bar melts. With options dwindling, any talk will do.


Didn’t know where to begin.

Didn’t know where this might go.

Didn’t know

Didn’t ask


Town is one thing. Home is another.  The two are governed by different dictates. Faces worn for the world slip off once threshold is crossed.


The smiles brought to town on these cold days are discarded  back home where the position in this world is further understood. In the space of a room with snow pressing its cold in, into the skin, the situation is solidified.


Winter will be another loss.  Hope will have to be held for another season.


The home. The cabin is stocked as meager as what could be afforded. The walls are for one but more would be merrier. Bar is further than should be traveled by foot. Risky, buzzed on icy road, bad tires.


Company is imaginary once again.


These days when the snow lets up. Gives the world a break and town feels close again. It’s time to take chances again.


Play the game of talk too much or say too little. Everybody’s got loneliness on the mind but everybody’s also getting used to it then the winter will be through and cold will be a part of the town again. Ice between everyone until the chill returns to shock. Warm one to another. Warn one of solitude. Bring together for a moment or more. Always less than needed.

Succeed Better Yesterday – a Lyrical Essay

You wake up or you are trying to wake up. The day is beginning. No alarm today, just the rhythm of the body saying it’s time to get started or maybe it’s the thoughts returning which went to unfinished last night and are looking to pick up from where they last left off. It’s Wednesday. There’s no job to go to today. This is the usual. It’s been this way since as long as you can remember. At this point, you’re so used to this routine and this schedule that you request it off at each new job you get. A certain type of lifestyle didn’t suit you after you graduated college and then after awhile, that same certain lifestyle became too out of reach to even try on.

You look to the left. You see the door, the knob, and the lock is engaged. Separation of here and there feels safe and secure. A feeling to hold onto as you turn over and look up at the ceiling to survey the wood molding and the white paint above for answers which were lost in the questioning that took place while traveling across the floor to bed yesterday. Along with the feelings and sensations making a home of this place comes the return of those feelings in the back, shoulders, neck. Getting up is getting harder each morning but a day off seems to run away quickly so there’s no time to waste.

A day off is the only time to go shopping, do laundry, get to the bank and then really get going on what you want to do. There’s always work to be done. When you’re not at work, you’re looking at other places to work. When you’re not at work, you’re looking for ways to supplement your workday wages. When you’re not at work, you’re doing the work you learned how to do while you were in school. It’s time set aside to create. Time to put that knowledge to work that you learned so many years ago.

You get out of bed. Stretch out a bit. Nothing big. Nothing too time consuming just something to loosen the muscles up and then hope that a warm shower will finish the job of soothing whatever aches still remain. You step over the jeans that didn’t make it to the hamper because they were destined to be worn once more tomorrow. You walk past the chair which gives a couple of blue shirts a place to rest between work shifts. You walk past the table with the boxcutter sitting on it. The table where the key for heavy equipment is also placed along with a pair of gloves. The same table that gives residence to the stack of library books arranged according to due dates. The same table filled with the final notices from any company who can and did send them. You walk past the bookshelf filled with books you bought when you still could afford to buy some books back when you weren’t alone in this place. Back before you were alone with all this. All this to think about. All this to inventory. All this to pack up or leave behind when you can figure out a plan for how to get out of here.

 Then, you go into the other room, the only other room. In the bathroom, you sit down to think, to meditate, to do what you need to do. The first multitasking of the day begins on a cold toilet seat. A few breaths and the mistake of looking up at the hole in the ceiling precedes the initial desire to turn on the radio. The hole from the rain last month only seems to be getting worse and maybe unrelated but now a few ants have been getting cozy around your place too. You made a call last month to the landlord then to the super. Somebody was supposed to come but nobody did and now being late again with the rent you don’t want to engage in the argument that’s sure to come when inquiring again about the hole. You’ve been late every month for as long as you’ve been single now. You’re getting good at paying just before your landlord’s patience has depleted. You know they don’t want to go through the work of finding a new tenant and going through the eviction process and you know that you can pay this rent sooner or later but right now, there’s no way you can put together enough money for security and first month on another place. So, even if you find a cheaper place it’s still easier financially to stay here for now. Yet, you’re planning. You know a few couches you can use. You know of a few places that’ll take you on a monthly basis without a security deposit – provided you have good references. Been living here awhile but you’re still not sure you have a good reference from having put all that time and money into it.

You reach over and turn on the radio. Take a moment to listen to the Writer’s Almanac. Think to yourself about all those classes you took and about how one day you hope to hear someone talking about you and your work on there. You listen to Keillor talk about Hart Crane today and Frank O’Hara the other day and that’s a good enough way to start any day -you suppose.


Well, it’s time get off the pot considering you already did what you came to do. You turn on the shower. Let it run. Get it hot. Get out the rust. Give yourself time to take stock once again of all you have. You think about the date and when you get paid again. You think about how to spread out the money to cover you for the next two weeks. You think about how your rent is half of your month’s wages. You’re becoming a pretty good calculator now. You add and subtract all day long. Not only for the job when you’re doing inventory but also on a daily basis trying to budget out enough money for an unforeseen emergency as opposed to the emergency which your life has become since losing the second job and second losing the significant other. You think of Emerson and Self Reliance and all the essays and books sitting on shelves and how many boxes it would take to hold them all. And you think of all the money spent on them and how much money you might get for them. And you step into the shower and wonder if your best chance at success was as good as it was ever going to get yesterday.


Originally posted at: http://www.activateblog.org/2014/07/succeed-better-yesterday-piece-of.html