mask off.

and all this time the smoke screen i stood behind
you never knew existed
you held me in your arms and the smile i wore drifted
and for the first time ever, the oceans that lived in my eyes pushed out streams that flowed down my cheeks

my knees grew weak
love dressed up as a spell
and suddenly i am compelled to be nothing other than me
i am not who you think i am
is this face still worthy of you
unmasked and riddled with imperfection
and on some days, depression
now that you see me
do you see me

a door.

frames sealed shut by words meant to hurt
there are no apologies that will loosen these hinges
there is no forgiveness that could open these locks
no passageway
no entrance

sealed shut this door will remain
for opening it undoes nothing but the sacrifices i gave to close it in the first place
words were the weapon you kept ready in your holster
and i no longer look good in a bulletproof vest
so no thanks but i have no interest in seeing what lies behind door number two

mirrored

my worst enemy lives in the shadow box on the wall
i show her who i am and no sooner is she showing me who i want to be
never good enough for the shadow box

i use her for guidance on how to dress my wounds
only to watch her undress them
she finds humility in leaving them open
reminds her that pain is real
unlike a shadow, when the lights are turned off, pain does not disappear

Undivided Attention, Divided Comprehension

In August 2020 my friend, Kayla, reached out to me asking if I wanted to collaborate with her on a poem she really wanted to create. It was a poem that would serve in memory of a dear friend of hers. After listening to her and hearing how passionate she was, I of course couldn’t wait to bring this poem to life. Kayla, knows that I absolutely love to write and I do so passionately. However, she also knows that most of what I write stays behind the doors of my many designed notebooks and journals.

I’m thankful that she approached me with this and made sure that not only did I write piece for the poem but she also wanted me to RECORD myself reciting it. If you know me at all, you know that recording my poetry is so out of my comfort zone. I’m glad I was pushed out of it though because I found something on the outside of where I am comfortable. I found many doors, yet to be unopened. I can’t say what is beyond the doors, but I know I’ll never find out settling on comfort.

Here it is, my first ever recording piece of work along with a dear friend of mine, Kayla Mabry. Our poem, Undivided Attention, Divided Comprehension, in memory of Quamaine.

Enjoy

Undivided Attention, Divided Comprehension

(Kayla) Excuse me while I stand on my soap box for what I believe I’ll SHOUT from the roof tops “NO JUSTICE-NO PEACE” The media’s made sure this has our Undivided attention We’ve all read, seen, and heard it – the problem comes from divided comprehension This isn’t patatoe/patatoe this is human life “I hear what you saying!” BUT YOU’RE NOT READING IT RIGHT If your skin looks like mine, you have no first hand experience If you’re ONLY listening to reply, you’re not really hearing it Now close your mouth, Open your mind put away the twitter fingers this don’t even need a reply Do I have your undivided attention? Because as you continue to listen – The world needs you to comprehend There’s no hidden meaning – IT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE US AGAINST THEM

(Candice) I hope my words are heard just as clear as the ones spoken before me A black woman speaking her mind, Lord I hope they don’t ignore me Checking my watch cause time is crucial, and I got a lot of shit to say Watching another black brother getting shot in the street is now considered “Just another day” While you’re on THE FENCE, I’m on DEFENSE and I promise it is not the same thing It should not be the norm to read in headlines about the death of another Black King And yes, crime is crime and a wrong is wrong and in that aspect you are right But you mean to tell me if my Black brother has a criminal record the price to pay has to be HIS LIFE And for the mentally unstable who are not able to communicate what is on the mind Should they really be silenced with bullets because they could not comprehend a command when it was given the first time Two men with guns, but only one is killed and not because the other was tougher Two men with guns, only one is killed, simply cause one was a brother You focusing on my anger makes you blind to my pain and in result you’ll never hear my message Why when a white person is passionate it’s deemed okay, but a black person is labeled aggressive There can’t be unity in you and me because we aren’t treated the same You can’t blame the media for racial issues when behind closed doors your hatred remains Listen, I mean really listen. Can you hear the pain dragging on the heels of these words Countless Black brothers, sisters, and even CHILDREN are dead. Don’t you think a little justice is what we deserve? People weighing in on black tragedy, telling us how we should feel when you haven’t a clue on what we’ve endured When all we’ve been trying to say is that black lives matter just as much as yours