African/American Eagle (Draft 1)

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

~Rahk

#america, #anti-racism, #eagle, #millennial, #poem, #poetry, #wings

Rahk’s Water Update 2/21/21

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.

Follow the series on Instagram at @RahkReads

#journal, #rahks-blog

The Resort (A Pandemic Poem)

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

~Rahk.

Shout out to my art ma [in my head] Erykah Badu.

#art-therapy, #beach, #black-art-matters, #covid-19, #daydream, #erykah-badu, #humor, #mamas-gun, #orange-moon, #pandemic, #poem, #raw, #spoken-words

In The Water, He knew Them (an ancestral memory)

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 boat. He sat back, considering. For the sea nymphs he’d drawn from the words 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 heads shaped like pharaohs.

Figuring he’d imagined things, he peered back into the water. He saw himself again, but not himself. He saw 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 prayer. He began to glow, brown skin casting shadows on passing fish. He began to sing and the language was a loving kiss on his lips. One he had once loved, and now loves again. The language was his, as was the sea and the people who knew him.

#america, #black-stories, #fantasy, #fiction, #history, #prose, #water

Strange Fruit (You Will Know Them)

1.

You say you love me

(For the Bible tells you so)

You say you love me

(For you are a child of God)

You insist you love me

But your love hits like hurled stones

But your love stabs sole of foot

It’s hard to walk

It hurts to walk

When your love vehemently rejects my shared need to breathe

2.

Such a peculiar love to offer sour fruit to starving children

Then stand repulsed, willfully withholding aid, when their bodies inevitably protest

How have you not choked on all the dust your love collects?

~Rahk.

#2020-election, #equality, #faith, #god, #hard-conversations, #history, #hope, #human-rights, #love, #poem, #poetry, #police-brutality, #relationships, #spoken-words, #stop-killing-us, #voter-suppression

Flag

I voted for fear

of who this nation is
and has been

The kumbaya of all lives

does not equal freedom
does not equal justice
does not defund the system
functioning as a de factor spine
for the privileged

I voted out of necessity

because this country
has never lived up to its foundation

still handling colored cloth with more care
than colored children

~Rahk.

#black-art-matters, #equality, #human-rights, #patriot, #politics, #vote, #voter-suppression

A Poem for Yourself (Rough Draft)

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

~Rahk

Revised for clarity in November 5, 2021.

Revised for clarity on November 9, 2020.

#black-art-matters, #black-lives-matter, #hard-conversations, #hope, #love-poems, #poem, #poetry

Currently (Excerpt from “Hard Conversation: Love Poems”)

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?

~Rahk.

#activism, #all-lives-matter, #america, #anti-racism, #black-art-matters, #equality, #human-rights, #poem, #poetry, #police-brutality, #sars

Solomon’s Questions

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

~Rahk.

#human-rights, #masculinity, #poem, #poetry, #toxic-masculinity

Attic. | By Allantra Lewis (Repost)

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, […]

Attic.

The latest poem from one of my favorite poets: Allantra Lewis.

Ridiculousness

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.

~Rahk.

#rahks-blog, #raw, #thoughts

Before 30 (a poem from “Water”)

Looking back
the questions I had
were more a proclamation
of autonomous
maleness

More affirmative
than outcries of “Punk!”

More nurturing than
“Hold it in. You bet’ not cry”
when you withstand hit after hit
when your body
is a faucet and an 
unsuspecting wall
built to withstand hit after hit

My questions were less interrogative
than sexual inquiries
and voyeuristic requests 
to witness bedroom theatrics 

Less deviant than conquest
Not as fearful as religion
Inconsequential to pink polos
and Mariah Carey in headphones

Innocence does not master sports
nor does it demand a wide stride
or pants that give in to gravity

Self-awareness counts
the notches in chastity belts

Looking forward
the answer is far more curious
than wandering eyes – 
Here be the island
which nurtures life
I’ll build here
with questions shifting my shore

~Rahk.

#art-therapy, #black-art-matters, #black-stories, #journal, #life, #manhood, #masculinity, #poem, #poetry

Play

u paused
frozen, but still whirring
and complaining
like a DVD

u are no machine
yet u let life control u
remotely

stop


Rahk.

#black-art-matters, #black-stories, #hard-conversations, #love, #love-poems, #poem, #poetry

thus far (Excerpt from Hard Conversations: Love Poems)

you’ve spent your life
giving in

life runs out
change does not

empty your pockets


Rahk

Hard Conversations in American Homes

1. It’s ashamed these businesses just reopened
And now they have to pay for damages

Yeah, Philip said his shop looks like a skull, all shadows and caverns.

And daddy always told us that floor-to-ceiling windows catch the eye…

I told Philip he should have chosen that other location…

2. Lord, have mercy! Why is this still happening?

I don’t know, bae, but it’s got to stop, it’s got to stop.

But how can it when this country is rich with graves,
smoothie shops as tomb stones?

3. I did not march with a million men for this.

I did not withstand hosed tsunamis for this.

I do not carry the teeth marks of Officer K9 for this to still be America.

4. What are they protesting? People die all the time.

But at the knee of police? But unarmed?

Well yeah, sure. They can’t all be black.

And are any of them white?

Who knows? But those police officers certainly aren’t black.

I suppose you’re right, but what can we do?

Yeah…this is America.

Yeah, this is America.

#america, #black-art-matters, #black-lives-matter, #equality, #hard-conversations, #history, #hope, #human-rights