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…)

Rather Than Silence

I’d rather you scream
So long as your scream
Contains the reason
Why your I love you hides behind your teeth

I’d rather you cuss
And belittle my concerns
So long as I know what it is
I have done to hold your I love you hostage

I’d rather you sob
Through confessions of doubt
So long as I bear witness to the certainty of your will

I’d rather yell
I’d rather fuss
I’d rather leave
Than smear silence
In your open wounds


~Rahk.

#poem, #raw, #relationships

The Statement Jussie Smollet Did Not Make

Jussie:

I am here, asserting my innocence
The same way my attackers demonstrated that
my black gay life does not matter
That my black
And my gay
Should be washed away in a violent baptism

I am here, before you, my truth having been arrested
But I will not remain silent

For as I bled, as I became intimate
with the state of this union,
My name and my story
continued to be brutalized
on a cold night in Chicago

It is only by God that I am here
So I am here
Before your flashing lights
And heavy glares
Carrying the bloody brown stains
of my public dragging
The hooping and hollering of sirens
mocking my wounds, deeming them self-inflicted
as their ropes scarred my wrists

Because I am Black. Because I am unafraid to love.
Because I am not a nigger to be hung as the birds tweet
about my smell
Because I am not a faggot to be gagged and
consumed by your self-righteous fire

Because I am here
Standing before you
Twice a victim
Twice a survivor
And though it is my right,
I will not remain silent


-Rahk (on the Jussie Smollet disposition)

#jussie-smollet, #letter, #lgbtqa, #poem, #poetry, #raw

Possible Opening Scene For “Water: The Play”

Setting the Scene: Curtains open. Three women of varying ages and three men of varying ages face each other; a pair of women, a pair of men, and a pair with both. The lighting shifts from ample light to low light, mimicking the performers’ voices.

Males: We are told that we are flowers–

Females: That should bloom a certain color–

In Unison: So that we might

Male Facing Female: So that we might

Female Facing Female: So that we might

In Unison: …Be picked. We were told that we are flowers that should bloom a certain color, so that we might be picked.

Females: But why must we die for someone else’s sorry?

Males: But why must we be cut to sprout another’s smile?

In Unison: But why must we grow to bloom a certain color if we cannot die as ourselves?

Female Facing Male: I’ve lain I love you at your feet one too many times…

Female Facing Female: My I love you is not a bouquet to lay in the dirt!

Male Facing Male: My I love you is not a spider to be smashed in fear!

Female Facing Female: I’ve lain I love you at your feet one too many times…

Male Facing Female: My I love you is not a bouquet to leave unwatered.

Female Facing Male: My I love you is not a roach scurrying in the shadows!

In Unison: My I love you does not belong at your feet, but here it is again…

Female Facing Male: I expect more of you
because I see you as
a reason to believe
that love can transform
boys into men
who do not run
from hard conversations

Female Facing Female: My expectations
are not laws to imprison u
for living. U commit no crime
against me. Though,
sometimes your silence
is an ache in my stomach.
U are not my child. I cannot
carry you. Look how u shine.
I am no god to raise the sun,
though I grow from the light…

In Unison: We grow from the light.

Male Facing Male: Talk to me.
It’s the silence that
fathers this Distance.

You are not my father.

Talk to me.
Your constant silence
fathers this Doubt.

Female Facing Female: I need you to talk to me.
Your silence fathers this Distance.

What are we now?

Talk to me.
Your constant silence
fathers this Doubt.

And I am with child…

Female Facing Male: You told me
that you were my first
underneath the white light
of a blue door
on a dark night
with poems between us
knowing I had no trophy
to give you.

Male Facing Female: With years between us,
you allowed the silence
to stand. While I boasted,
certain of my place
on the empty stage
of your auditorium.

Male Facing Male: What didn’t you say
the night I caught you
considering me, smiling,
hand on cheek?

Female Facing Famale: What didn’t you say the night you clung to me,
saving your tears
to pour in my glass?

In Unison (louder): What didn’t you say the night you clung to me,
saving your tears
to pour in my glass?

Females and Male Facing Male: The same glass
we shattered on a whim,
with poems between us…

Alternate Females and Alternate Male: I did not duck
when your tears
splattered like acid
along my cheek.

Male Facing Female (with revelation): This is not the scar of friendship–

Male Facing Male (with revelation): This is not the scar of friendship–

Female Facing Female (with uncertainty): This is not the scar of friendship…

In Unison (with conviction): These are not the scars of friendship!


(Scene description and roles added to original post on February 23, 2019)

#brainstorming, #relationships, #scenes, #spoken-words, #water

“Grief (When a Poem Can’t Fix It)” -raw audio

When you can’t write a poem.

When a poem can’t fix it.

When a flick of the lighter

and a pull of the cigar

and a lashing out at loved ones

can’t fix it

When sporadic sobs of faith

ripping from bellies

like plagues of moths

can’t fix it

When a prayer skips

“Don’t let it be true, Jesus”

And another prayer skips

“Don’t let it be true, Jesus”

And the prayers skip

And voices crack

like whips across Christ’s back

and questions linger

on the napes of our necks

and lifting our heads to the sky

does not loosen their hooks

And you don’t ask them

because you know the silence

resounds like his last breath

Because you know he should not have taken his last breath

And a rage storms

through the blood of kinship

And a rage storms

below the clouds of scriptures

And a question clasps hold of your eyelids

And a gaze falters at the casket

And a sweeping of the crowd jettisons a spray of questions

like bullets

like bullets

like bullets

that wail like they just lost their child

like bullets

like bullets

like bullets

that wail as if their prayers were answered incorrectly

like bullets

like bullets

burdened by too many unanswered questions

like bullets

like bullets

Who is responsible for these tears?Tears dammed by so many quesions

Tears desperate to escape the dam to prevent the flood

And a poem can’t fix it

And a prayer didn’t make it not so

And questions still haven’t been answered

And we have heard that weeping endures for a night,

But why is it that we have been forced into mourning?

#grief, #poetry, #raw, #spoken-words, #water

Yes, Even Men

I will not stuff my tears into my coat pocket
Or swipe them from my face
as if they burn
I will not clasp hold of the sob
banging furiously at the corners of my eyes

I will let these tears escape
like refugees from an oppressive regime
I will let these tears dampen my beard
as if a staff will part the sea
gathering unabashedly at my chin

I will not be ashamed

Death touches everyone
inappropriately


-Rahk.

#poetry, #water, #when-rahk-writes

Speak (From “Hard Conversations: Love Poems”)

A look is substantial.
The right look. The night look
is most tempting when its looked across a crowded room

I see us in our eyes.

Still, we must speak.
For though I am certain of attraction,
I am uncertain of how my confidence may touch you:
a soft whisper in back of knee.
a finger tracing arch of foot
a smile curving along your ear…

I gaze gently
but my hold is unyielding.
A Black man raised gently in the South
erects temples to a Loving God.

A word is substantial. So, baby speak
as if tomorrow wagers on a missed conversation.
Speak as though we love a loving God.

-Rahk

#hard-conversations, #love-poems, #poem, #poetry, #romance, #speak