Right

For Botham Jean and Atatiana Jefferson

What can I write
That can be a rainbow
On the darkest night?

(It has been written)

Love
your neighbor
as you love
yourself

To obey the law
do our neighbors
have to look like us
To comprehend love?

(It has been written)

Love The Lord,your God,
with all you are

Who am I, Lord?
I Am Whom You Say I Am.

Am I Saved or am I Damned?

I was born
with this skin–

But I do have sandals
to remove from clean feet

(Where is Your Land?)

Where I stand has to be Your Soil–
I have not moved.
I have not moved.

Are men mountains
Refined by faith?

Are men soft bodies
That minds can shape?
Are women?

Are we all hard rock?
Are we all heavy?
Do we all dream of sky?
Do we all cherish our feet?

To love your neighbor
You must love yourself

(It has been written)

Love your neighbor
As you love yourself
And then you are loved
And then so am I
And then so are we

(It has been written)

Love ourselves
And we love our neighbors
Despite mistakes
Despite bank accounts
Despite gender
Despite weight
Despite religion
Despite differences
Despite choices

Are we enemies
to our reflections?
Are we foes
to our knowledge of good?
Do we aim guns
at ourselves
In our own homes?
In our neighbors homes?
(This can’t be right.)

We need rainbows
to smile their colored light
even in our homes.
Even in our neighbor’s homes
so that we all may walk
in peace
on the street,
so that we all may sit
in peace
in loving homes
God, no more floods.
God, please, no more floods.

Show us the rainbow
On our darkest night.
This isn’t…
This isn’t…
This isn’t right.
(What can we…
What can we write…)

Excerpt from “Master of Silence: Avatar Rahk”

Chapter 9-Toddler Rahk

“Mama, where is the seedgiver?
Am I not given?”

“You are. And your father
gave all he could muster
before your roots
grew too thick for my womb”

“So where is the seedgiver, mama?”

“Dear Rahk, had I an answer
perhaps I would have carried you
on dry land
rather than a sea”

Rahk contemplated her words
while studying the power “to be”


I want to read Chapters 10-11.

Tell Me, JohnJohn (excerpt from “Raising Suns”)

Who strong enough to hold the ocean?
With all of its waves and womanizing slaps.
Whose hands and arms big enough to hold it all?
Not yours, JohnJohn. You’sa itty bitty little thing.
Your arms couldn’t comfort a puddle

Never-mind a tidal wave. Never-mind a tsunami.

You’d have to be a fool. A fool, I tell you!
to even hope for arms or hands or strength that big!

Is you a fool? Is you a fool or a sage?
If you’sa sage you won’t even ‘tempt to hold a puddle.
A puddle ain’t nothin but an ocean to littler beings.
I bet oceans are puddles to God.
Oceans just so big to us because we so small.

But even still, only a fool would think he could hold it all.
Only a fool, JohnJohn, and I tell you:
I hope that fool exists ‘cause I’m tired of waving
to absence, crashing on empty shores
just to flow back in the deep of myself.

JohnJohn, please tell me you’sa fool…


-Rahk.

EXcavation [excerpt from “Raising Suns (And Other Celestial Bodies)”]

finding pieces of men
protruding from the earth
in a perverse cemetery

full of
winding torsos
and intended smiles,
sentient statues that sneer
in passing with living eyes

and though half buried,
they remain
erect and expecting eager hands
to delve beneath the earth
for their pedestals


-Rahk.

Which Version Do You Like Best? (Please comment)

For Mrs. Davis-Williams (Previously entitled “Namings”)

You shared
that an author is the sum
of his own voices
that a child’s ramblings
wrinkle time
that a young poet’s words
are testaments to wisdom
and I trusted your reading.

You were a librarian after all.
You, with that every-womam smile.

I was an honored book
uncertain of my pages.
Yet to trust the voices
narrating my story.

You did.


Namings (Original)

As I read adolescent poems

You read me.
Professed that an author is the sum
of his own voices.

I trusted your reading.
You were a librarian after all.
I, an honored book
yet to turn his own pages.
Yet to hear the voices
possessing my stories

You did.
Told me Angelou
was my mother

as I recited stories
that were not yet my own

You, with that every-woman smile,
read a collection of namings
in mine


Thank you for reading. I enjoy the revision process but it is also infuriating sometimes. Please help me out by commenting with the title of the poem you like the most. Thanks!

Her Thorns (excerpt from “Raising Suns”)

She knew
before the softness
of her petals
bouqueted her thoughts

Before her nature tamed suns
into survival

Before her pistil
pollenated a need to bloom

After a lover proclaimed,
on the final tug: “I love you not”

Daughters (Excerpt from “Raising Suns”)

She hand washes towels and folds them tenderly, uses the most delicate detergents. Dries them in the breeze or in her lap, whichever’s warmest.

She cleans the dishes, scrubs the stove, vacuums the carpet, she folds the towels.

Her mother always said a wife is only as good as her ability to keep a home. Her ability to organize and fold. Her ability to nurture and nature and take care.

Her mother always told her that good wives don’t believe in divorce. That what God joined together, let no man.

And she’d always black out after that…she blacks out a lot nowadays. Since her vows. Let no man–

Til death, her mother said, and she died often–

When his mistress left him when his boss docked his pay when the white towels boasted brown stains.

So she makes sure to wash clothes, to fold the towels after scrubbing away the stains, after soaking her body in Epsom salts.

Her mother always told her a decent wife is only as good as her housework and a husband, decent or not, is only as good as his whims.


-Rahk.