White Flag

I write this poem because it is in the backdrop of my mind.
Quietly sitting there like an uninvited guest in the present held hostage by my past, cuffed by the hands of time;
It’s the elevator music to my life that I can’t stand.
It goes on repeat because I don’t know how to turn it off.
And so, I realize it’s because it’s about you.
A person who has tainted my world with music I did not ask to hear,
A song burnt on a scratched CD, sold at a shady night market, and overplayed like a one hit wonder.

I listen close, in hopes of learning from a man who was suppose to be my Dad.
A father who taught me lessons the hard way, in the form of baggage I can no longer carry for him.
I have small hands and a bad back.
Too small to hold the mistakes I have lost count of along with the lies he has lost count telling.
Lies strong enough to break the legs off trust making it fall to it’s knees begging for honesty to come back.
I try to justify my overwhelming sadness with that damn thing we often say: “He did what he did with what he knew best.”
Well I guess if your best is also your worse than yeah, the word ‘best’ ought to be redefined.

Your dirty laundry makes me feel like I have to wear bio hazard suit to walk a day in your shoes.
Your faults, growing like a disease in a petri dish with no cure. I look through a microscope only to find:
A man who still needs an incentive to find a medical break through when the status quo is killing all that is tied to him.
And so I have to find my own remedy, to make all the symptoms you bring about subside.
I take all steps necessary to avoid your ailing character wrapped in insincere words twisted and turned into deceit.
I realize this has become the 29 year old knot in my stomach I’ve been trying to untie for the longest time.

I think to myself where and when did it all go wrong?
It went wrong the day you decided to not stand by what’s right, you knew right but shoved it to ground;
Like the woman who birthed your five daughters, the one who actually loved you even in all the ways you fail to love her back, or yourself enough to simply try, and be better…and nicer.
That woman is my loving mother.
The day you traded in your family for the value of a woman who chased your wallet in exchange for her broken dreams, owned by a reality she can’t bare by using a man who fails to live in his.
The day you decided to lay your mistakes all over my mother like bruises that fade on the surface but remain unhealed like an open flesh wound exposing her broken smile.
Her skin stamped purple by your hands and her heart into an unrecognizable color not even on the palette of her identity.
Her reflection staring back at her, taunting at why she’s even here, and the only answer she seems to come up with is to be your verbal, emotional, and physical knock out round.
A man who wouldn’t understand the definition of respect if it spit him in the face.
A man who’s definition of glory was to hold a woman’s worth in his hands and crush it to make his own fists stronger.
A man who wouldn’t know what an apology is if it punched him in the stomach, tormented him for days and suffocated him with compassion.
A man who decided long ago to live in his own convoluted abyss, a place far away the rest of us refuse to call home.

… And so, I am going to get off of this elevator and take the stairs to the nearest exit.

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Composition

It’s maddening,
How you’re able to completely consume me.

It’s conflicting,
How I long for silence only to invite your noise in without formal invitation.

It’s strange,
How I welcome your disruption into my night to wash over me like a tsunami of calm studious whispers in a library corner.

It’s dependent,
How without you, I am without knowing me along with how powerless I render myself if you’re not there to see me through.

It’s beautiful,
How you lead me to the perfect getaway, the kind where I would wait all year around for each time you’re near.

It’s controlling,
How I use you like a vacation without an end date.

It’s comforting,
That I find solace so easily within the escape of being somewhere else, anywhere else, with you.  

It’s with a sense of surrender,
That I give you all the pieces of me like broken shards of glass waiting to be salvaged into a mosaic of hope.

It’s with humor… and relief,
That I need not to make up, or be made up, or even wear makeup: the trifecta of my insecurities in your presence.

It’s with you,
That I am glued together with a collage of letters you bring about when you are within my grip.

It’s your ink,
That stains my world a vivid crimson – The color of error and correction, with words volunteering themselves…begging…through life’s plea to be heard.

It’s because of you,
That I am a collection of troubled verbs, descriptive nouns, heavy thoughts, and an abundance of sentiments painted by life like an unfinished canvass for my eyes only.

It’s only with you,
That I stand steady, still, and stronger when I hold you in my hand… and I write.