My wings would be a mosaic made of black mothers’ pride
They’d be boomboxes for justice Amplifying the riot in our souls They’d be instruments Of destruction Burning monuments to make room for equal testaments They’d evolve into the freedom to live unaccosted and to die avenged
They’d be bullet proof and resistant to hate They’d span from the Middle Passage to Miami They’d lift our heavy hearts and their downward thrust Would scatter the white ashes of false supremacy
First, I must thank everyone who has taken a moment out of your day to read a poem. Poems need people to breathe and the poems on Rahk’s Water are grateful for lending your voice to these silent words. Whether you read them silently or aloud, your voice and mine merge in these moments and it is intimate.
You may or may not have noticed a significant decline in posts since December. Much of this is due to the increased challenges posed by Covid, and the rest is because I have started a web series entitled RahkReads on IGTV. In the spirit of #ReadMorePoetry, RahkReads so far is just a man and his poems. However, I am very excited that tomorrow’s webisode will include readings from the late Assotto Saint and the incomparable Saul Williams. I hope you tune in, like, save, or share.
I just want to go for a swiiiimmmm After a bath in the sun Mango Wheat Orange Moon Wide palms praising the One Who knows the count of the sand & cowrote my Mama’s Gun
Booming Bluetooth speaker Conversating on . . . & on As the sweat drop-glistens Orange Moon drops gone Seashells beneath brown feet Seagulls eyeing my phone
Wooooosh, a flirty breeze Guides us to the shore Woooooo this ocean’s crisp Won’t be sweating no more A tight hug to the sea Ain’t no stress to report Oh wait, ’tis the season for Covid & The Cost of Living’s the resort
The waters were calm when the face peered from the deep. The sun generous on brown skin. But this was no reflection. A gasp escaped.
He never knew sea nymphs had noses, round and wide. He never thought to dream one would show up with blue locs and a full mouth. Gap between proud teeth, with terracotta smile and scales tinted burnt sienna.
Anchoring his humble boat, he sat back and pondered his sanity, because the sea nymphs he’d illustrated from the descriptions of renowned authors did not resemble his father. They did not have his mother’s mouth, or his great aunt’s cheek bones. They did not have shaved heads shaped like pharaohs. Those author’s never told tales of burnt umber eyes rippling in the Atlantic.
Figuring he’d imagined things, he peered back into the water. He glimpsed himself again, or so he thought. He faced his brother again, yet he did not. The sea nymph danced in the current just below the surface. The sea nymph shouted and sang in his native tongue.
The sea nymph’s observer sat stunned, but somehow attuned to the rhythm of underwater drums. His bare soles began to mimic the beat on the boat floor. He noticed, and stopped. He peeked over his modest boat again and grinned. The ocean heaved for the sea nymph’s kin had joined his dance. They’d flowed right into his song. The young man laughed as images of family reunions flowed into his vessel. As he watched an elder sea nymph, scales worn like sea turtle skin, her locs pale as sea froth, twist and whirl in the current created by her descendants. He was certain the first nymph was her grandson. She smiled at him through the deep blue and a gap stood proud between her teeth.
The young man’s boat, now heavy with memory, continued to sink. The young man treaded water as if trying to dance. He felt a hand graze his hand. He felt his toe balance on a current. He noticed a breath offered by the salty water. He took it and he danced as his boat descended, returning home. He danced. He forgot his feet. His clothes, heavy and sodden, floated to the depths. He darted between currents. And the sea nymphs circled his graceful descent; their movement like praises of fervent prayer. Bodily he began to glow, mud brown skin casting shadows on passing shoals; the shoals left a glimmer of their bioluminescence across his spine. The currents swam a familiar song around him as his boat’s shadow dappled his descent. He began to sing and the language was a loving kiss on his lips; a kiss he had once loved and forgotten, but now loves again. The language was his as was the sea and the people who remembered him.
Tell yourself. Tell yourself That giving up is an option, But not for someone as unicorn as you So spread those effervescent wings Let their sparkle brush bold colors across the sky And the people will shout aurora As you pass by On hooves of crayola clouds
Tell yourself that you are a marvel That what your flesh cannot mend Your spirit must renew For you are a marvel And no storm can triumph over your will For you silence thunder with your smile And tickle lightning with your lashes Your holy locs congress the wind
Tell yourself that you are God’s That you belong to the love that begat your sense of self Gather yourself, gather yourself And stand on that makeshift stage within Face your phobia of public speech Speak your truth across that mic And stir the selves you’ve gathered Until their fragrance speaks as the holy spirit Then tell yourself to be okay With not being okay sometimes Because at all times, life demands integrity
To thine own self be true To thine own self be true
And then there’s no mirror that can haunt you And then there’s no slander that can slay your legacy And then there’s no reason to doubt That you are no prisoner Though your wrists may be rubbed raw That you are no martyr Though you have died one hundred gruesome deaths That you are no villain Though you wear a patriotic badge of civil disobedience
Tell yourself Tell yourself That freedom is not a gift to be given But a revelation that freedom is and always has been yours And at any time As a free agent You can choose revolution And rewrite the constitution of your independence.
Tell yourself, tell yourself That you are a new testament of faith That douses tortured crosses With the antisemetic tears of arsonists For every devil weeps When its hate is stilled By the hopes you tell yourself For every devil burns unholy and red When its blasphemy does not lower your head in deference to any man’s hate To glare it in the eyes as a colleague of hate Tell yourself its not too late Tell yourself its not too late To breathe
I am that I am, But so are they. Still they hate. But are they the devil? They do turn red With so much new blood Staining their hands Even as they vote. They are that they are. But so am I. Am I forgiveness At the same time that they Are knee crushing necks? Am I forgiveness At the same time that they Are propelling arsenal at unarmed citizens? Are they forgiven At the same time that they Are standing back and standing by While more of us live maimed, or die?
What can a man know of God If he knows nothing of repentance? What can a man know of repentance If he knows nothing of a woman’s right to choose? What can a man know of a woman’s right If he does not witness softness as kin? If he does not witness softness in men If he does not witness often within that strength of spirit overtakes strength of arms Even chosen kings are not above writing Psalms
I looked in mirrors deep- Found myself in cobwebbed enemies, I held my hand out in admiration. Of their colors. Of their authenticity. I am not whole without them. They are the pure part of this body, They are the basement voices, The ones that I keep in mind- When I find too much sky, […]
That one’s value is measured in excellences. In aptitude. In the capacity to stand out enough to be counted. To be visible. To be seen as an indispensable. To warrant a care, to merit an inclusive action. To be just inside the border of us versus them.
How holy must one be? How sinful? How vulgar or demure? How ordinary or talented? How singular or prolific must we be? How sincere? How comedic?
Which traits must we spotlight as we wander from one conversation to another? From one first to last impression? Which attributes must we peddle when our peers are forced to sit still for 2 minutes, blatantly choosing to meet our gaze or stare around us just to hold on to a bit of loose change?
What should we hide in our tell-all podcasts? What should we reveal in our autobiographical memoirs? Who is ghost-directing our biopics, fear or courage?
When being unhinged and free-tongued isn’t a hot item in the buyer’s market, not for you. When speaking honestly doesn’t afford you a sold out amphitheater, and a tax break. When laughing, full-bellied, at the wrong time finds you in search of a new career. When your truth does not inspire a loving stranger’s hand in yours. How do we continue? When that excellence we accept as normal is too normal or not quite normal enough. When normal is last week’s trend. But not your normal. Not your extraordinary. When you know, instinctively, that you are not them. When you know, coincidentally, that you cannot sit with us without an invitation. When you don’t even really care to be invited, yet you crave a moment to be you with them. When you have dreamed of being you with everyone and feeling that you matter, that you are visible and valued. Even if your existence is an unrealeased biopic.