Numbers (Excerpt from “Hard Conversations”)

i sat between your feet counting
the hairs on your legs
(two hundred thousand twenty-four)
rather than the number of times you frowned
when looking to me for answers

(once…)

one time.

i never asked, that one time,
why your head shifted in rhythm to revolution
why doubt tilted your axis
why you couldn’t trust your world in my hands
i couldn’t God for you
i couldn’t God for you

~Rahk.

#faith, #fathers, #gender-norms, #hard-conversations, #love, #love-poems, #poem, #poetry, #raw

You Were Not Old (Excerpt from “Hard Conversations: Love Poems by Rakeem OneVoice Person”)

Lil bruh, I thought
maybe you’d rise
on the third day
after a releasing of purple and gold balloons
confirmed you had
in fact
died at 28

But you did not rise
You did not rise
from your sick bed
in the certainty of youth

When did you grow old in body?

I did not know.

I could ask why
but what are petty reasons
when you, Lil Bruh, simply did not
have strength to rise
three days after
laughter and normalcy
outhummed the motor
of your oxygen tank

I thought you’d breathe again
on your own
considering
how much we laughed.
I thought:
What is hospice to your little brother soul?

You were not old
We were not old
and even if we were
would hardearned wrinkles
have remedied suspended time?

I do not know
what more solace a silvered crown
would have bestowed.
I am not old
and I remember you clearly.

Sometimes my laugh echoes yours
as if my body is a canyon.
Other times, tears carve fresh streams
toward healing.

I wonder:
What is death to kinship?

You were not old, and your little brother spirit
still blesses the laughter
between my tears

I am not old
Though I fear I have aged
without you

Where do I start?

#art-therapy, #cancer, #death, #faith, #grief, #hard-conversations, #hope, #life, #loss, #love, #love-poems, #mourning, #poem, #poetry, #raw, #relationships

Celebrating One Year of Rahk’s Water

Re-presenting “The Art Inside”, a 2016 mashup of multiple poems that expressed a series of truths for your favorite bald poet. It’s 5 minutes long, but I think it’s worth it.

#hope, #journal, #life, #love, #memories, #poetry, #raw, #scenes, #spoken-words

A Poem Translating: “She Crazy”

To her
I am a still puddle
slowly evaporating
She knows it’s happening
While she watches

She cries
Aware that the sun’s heat
Rushes my gradual escape
She defiantly yells,
Already familiar
With the freestyle
Of staccato raindrops

And her smile flickers with each drop
It jerks and tugs and pops
She can no longer see her beauty reflected
In me

Still puddle she sees
But I’m Atlantic Ocean
Pushing and tugging on southern shores
Still puddle she sees
Though I am Atlantic Ocean
On an October night

To her
I am a still puddle
Still evaporating
She prays for permanence
knowing parts of me are already gone

#hope, #journal, #life, #loss, #love, #marriage, #poem, #poetry, #relationships, #spoken-words

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…)

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.

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