Where Do I Begin (Midnight Ramblings)

How do I start? How do I determine if the seed came before the flower or the flower before the seed? Perhaps the question is how do I begin. Perhaps the question is why should I begin. Perhaps the question is an expansive universe full of strange suns. Perhaps questions are both seed and flower.

“Did I start in the valley?” wonders the seed. “Or are my origins more rock than soil?”

How do we start? How do we determine if our pain came before the love, or the love before the pain? Perhaps the question is: how do we begin? Perhaps the question is: why should we begin? As it stands, beginnings transition into endings, as is the natural order.

But can words, convenient as they are, truly pronounce the beginning in its purest form? But can words, generous as they are, grant us reprieve from the frustration of inaccuracy? How useful is a metaphor with a shoddy bridge connecting the comparisons? The seed or the flower, the beginning or the end, the pain or the love, the answer or the question?

Is a man a flower? Are flowers black? Can petals remain fragrantly appealing when pigmented brown?
Is a man a seed? Are seeds mere flowers? Can men remain fragrantly appealing when pigmented brown?

Perhaps the question is when will I begin to focus my thoughts.
Perhaps the question is a matter of faith.
But in whom?

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!

Mending

Learned at an early age
that words carry weight
only broken bone I’ve had
is being called a fag one time
too many
and there aint no cast
for that kind of injury.
Can’t set spirit the
way you set bone.
They don’t quite mend the same
but no surprise they don’t
quite bend the same either.

#grief, #lgbtqa, #poem, #poetry, #raw, #water

Rahk on the Jussie Smollet “Case”

As I wind down from a stressful yet productive week, I began typing the following Facebook status:

I know I am not the only one who is literally befuddled by this Smollet vs MAGA vs Chicago vs Smollet “case”. Like I truly cannot tell you how many times conversations about it result in “…WTF?!” On all sides! Whether I am talking to friends or coworkers or passersby, we just end up exasperated because we fight negativity and distrust every day. We fight the fear that someone will mean us, or someone we love, harm for one reason or another. We fight to support those experiencing hardship publically, even if it’s by sharing a Facebook post. We fight distrust and the very real possibility that there are those who not only conspire against us, but conspire to slay us (both literally and figuratively) for something as harmless as our skin color, or presumptions about our lifestyles because we choose freedom instead of bondage. We choose freedom instead of fear.

It is here that I paused and recognized that this would be the more appropriate medium to manage my anxiety. I will attempt to be as concise and clear as possible, but I make no guarantees. If you have been following the story, or just coasting on any social media platform, you will already know that Jussie Smollet’s 16 or so felony charges have been dropped. DROPPED. All of them. According to trusted news sources like CNN, Fox, and NBC, the “victim”-turned-“villain” and star of Fox’s Empire, Smollet, walked away by forfeiting a $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago and a couple days community service. Why? How? What happened to all the evidence that inspired the shift from investigating a hate crime to investigating the orchestrator of a staged hate crime all to allegedly (you guessed it) get more money.

Yall, I am just stumped. And frustrated. I’m confused. I’m angry. I’m not convinced that Smollet is, in fact, the victim of a hate crime. At the same time, due to the most recent outcome, I’m not convinced that he’s guilty of all 16 felony charges. And now, by some conspiratorial miracle, there will not be a trial. There is merely dismissal of the charges against Smollet. Then, perhaps because I am a Cancer, or maybe due to possessing a contemplative nature in general, tons of questions bounce around my skull such as:

  • But why would an innocent man (who is a known activist and community voice, who was assaulted by MAGA zealots, who was also accused of staging his own hate-inspired assault) accept so much unjust loss: a $10,000 loss, the loss of time, opportunities, credibility, TRUTH, etc.?
  • But why would the Chicago Police Department conspire against Jussie smollet?
  • But what about the two African brothers who said they were paid to assault Jussie and say those divisive statements?
  • But why would any of these people lie with so much at stake?
  • But where is this “Court of Opinion” located and how can I be a judge?
  • But when did I get so invested in this case and why am I so angry with Jussie?
  • Am I being judgmental despite my monumental efforts?
  • Who is the victim here? Is it Jussie? Is it Chicago? Is it Black and Gay America? Is it the present and future victims who will face skepticism when they come forth?

I could just go on and on and– you get the idea. Honestly, I’m almost certain I’d have to write a book to thoroughly articulate this swirling eddy of confusion and hope and frustration. Here, I end where I began: I know I cannot be the only one who is genuinely befuddled and utterly conflicted by this Smollet vs MAGA vs Chicago vs Smollet “case”!

Please forgive any typos. I do not have the energy to thoroughly proofread right now. I know, I know– no cookie for me. I don’t need that cookie tonight anyway (I ate too many yesterday, shhh!).

#grief, #jussie-smollet, #letter, #lgbtqa, #raw, #talking-to-myself

Rahk on Jussie Smollet Allegations

if it is true
an old rope chokes the American Flag
once again
Free bodies travel fearfully underground
once again

if it is true
Ida’s tenacity has pounded on locked doors
once again
Malcolm’s scowl has deepened in revolution
once again

Americans hang their heads
and clutch their hopes like holy bibles
once again
once again

Harriet, shotgun at the ready,
reminds her people:
“The way to freedom is Northward.
We’ve passed too many Pillars of Salt–
caught between moving forward and looking back.
Keep marchin forward like you ought–
I gots the strength you lack.”

“Not again
Not again”
Emmett mutters a prayer
“Not again
Lord, not again.”
Emmett can only stare
if it is true

Maya frowns,
“shoulders falling down
like tear drops,
weakened by her soulful cries”

once again
we’re forced to fear the truth
as much as we fear the lies


-Rahk. (R. Person),

Original post read, “Civil Rights travel underground”. All posts are subject to revision. Some posts will become unavailable as “Rahk’s Water’ continues to form into a final work.

#grief, #jussie-smollet, #poem, #poetry, #raw

Talking to Myself (Brainstorming Part 1)

On the 40 minute drive to teach freshman and sophomore English, I see glimpses as I head down I-40: a darkened stage with subtle light, brown skin shrouded in various, yet harmonic, hues of blue. “In 5 miles, take Exit 206,” says Girl, my Google Maps App. (I know my way to work by now, so I just navigate for the real-time traffic updates and alternate routes.) The signal light sounds off its blinky clicks, and I see another glimpse: a gun on a nightstand, two Black men in a careful rage– then a snippet of a conversation. “Talk to me, it’s your silence that fathers this distance…” and then Girl chimes in, “In 0.9 miles, keep right to stay on Exit 206.” Before you know it, I’ve finished teaching all my classes and I’m back on the road for another 40 minutes.

I see glimpses, but it’s still unformed. “Water” has a lot to live up to. I’m hoping it will become a culmination of all the late nights and invested time. This “Water”, of which I receive fleeting glimpses, warms me like the grey-eyed grin of my grandfather. Specifically, the ‘just for me’ grin that greeted me whenever I returned home from college.

Because you spare a little time to visit whenever you can, gratitude warms me just like PaPa’s grin before Dementia dimmed it a bit. (He still reserved a smile just-for-me, even with the declining nature of the disease.) Nevertheless, thank you for reading any tiny droplet of “Rahk’s Water”. Together, we can turn these droplets into a bay. 💙

#brainstorming, #journal, #talking-to-myself, #water

Somewhere in the Oceans

Is this some new great white shark?
One that holds lightning ‘tween its teeth?
Lord, hammercy.
I could do without that
again–

Oh, it’s just those white men with Lightning in their hands again–
they like the way I look
for some invasive reason or another…

I’m just trying to get to where I’m going.
It’s been 98 years since I’ve seen my Aunt Kimaya.
She makes me smiiile.

So, go ‘head and stare if y’all must.
Just please, please point your lightning somewhere else–
it’s hard enough to see as it is.

#personification, #poetry, #sea-turtles, #water

Enigmatic by Rahk

as the sky is blue
so are oceans
so are bays
so are winged things
that glide and flitter between rock
so are slithering things
that shimmer and hide beneath rock

as the sky is blue
as the oceans
as the bays
as the puddles reflecting twilight
as the robes that roll down blue black legs
as the dust glimmering on a catepillar’s dreams
as the wings
as the wings
of defiant things
flicking off the ground

as the sky is blue
so are streams and lakes and ponds
so are infants and women and boys
so are auroras undulating in brown eyes
so are turning tassels
and the timid flames of eighty-nine cent lighters
and dishonest prayer cloths
and unused bookmarks
and little girls forced to wear dresses
and little boys bruised while wearing dresses

as the sky is blue
and fluid and vast
and unafraid of its horizons
so are you


Rahk.

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

Rahk’s Voice, An Introduction

His voice is one you skip across a puddle or a pond with your favorite cousin. His voice is one you keep in a shoebox with the other odd things that caught your eye. His voice is lapis lazuli, too soft to set in rings, but hard enough to pierce ears. His voice is not diamond, it is not gem. His voice is rock, an arduous task to work, but I must, because his voice harmonizes with mine in its audacity.

His voice, like my own, sinks and blends within bodies of water. His voice, like my own, stands out in a sea of gravel. His voice, like my own, does not keep its shine in rings. Rather, Rahk’s voice sets best in pierced skin, or pinned to mom’s Sunday best, or resting by the heart on silver chains.

Here, I will explore Rahk’s voice. Here, I will clench my fist around it. Here, I will hold it up to the light to observe how it lusters, layers, and weighs. Here, I hope to chisel and polish Rahk’s voice into a poignantly intricate sculpture that flows like water. Over the next few days, weeks, and months, I introduce to you the unrefined voice of Rahk.

#water