He was my first Deity, my Lord
All I knew encircled Him
He was the sun and I followed in path
Capitulated to His moods,
Prayed for His mercy
Lived in fear of His wrath

After all he was My Father

But he bowed to a deity
Of his own
That either kept him cold and aloof
or filled with the spirit
of liquid hellish fire
of various proof

We tried to be as quiet as a church
In the middle of the night
But we never found a peace to be still
When I can be whipped awake
At any moment
For some ages old forgotten ill

And where was she you ask
When his fist and my face
Were making connections
How could she save me when she herself
Was in dire need
Of her own protection

Where do I go
This was my shelter
It was all I’ve ever known
I’m taught never to be where I’m not wanted
But what do I do when I’m a child
And where I’m not wanted is home

Well the first time I ran
I was soon returned
For I was very under aged
But I aired laundry in the process
And now both of them
Were enraged

Straight A’s brought not a praise
Chores lack brought not a reproach
His indifference became such
That I would push his buttons
With a cheeky little laugh
The only way to feel his touch

Knowing it was all
A fucked way to feel
Just added to vicious revolution
a penance to pay
For which there was never
an absolution

So when I broke out
And ran away part four
I just started living wild
No one ever said a word
what could they say
I am my father’s child

I’m told I should still love him
Pray for him
And wish him well
I say I do in the mere fact
that I simply
never wished him to hell

Some called me cold
Some called me tough
can handle any shit
But I grew up where
whining didn’t change a thing
so what was the point to it

My mother died first
and she I do miss
She did the best that she could
The next I saw him was to bury him
keeping a promise
he knew I would

He’s been gone
nearly a year
without any impact
I was an orphan
deep in my soul
long before I was in fact


Mining the Memory–dVerse ~ Poets Pub Meeting The Bar :

30/30 – 18 | Special

Below is a carry over of the characters I created in Rebbie, a 30 Days /30 Stories post from a few days ago. Please read the first entry to further get into the character here.

I was about 11 when my whole life got turned upside down.

One Friday night we girls was staying over with Olivia and Alethia at Miss Jackie’s house.  It was late and I woke up having to go to the bathroom.  As I passed by Miss Jackie and Mr. Hal’s bedroom, I heard the bed squeaking and their voices through the half-opened door. I didn’t know grown folks made so much noise when getting Special Hugs as Papa called it.  I tried not to laugh as I closed the door gentle like and went on about my business.

Saturday morning, Miss Jackie was just a smiling and humming all over herself as she made us breakfast.  It weren’t that unusual, she gots like that every now and again.  This day, she just seemed happier than usual. I was asking Olivia why her mama gets so happy like that every so often.  I thought I was talking low, but apparently Miss Jackie heard me and laughed saying it was because Mr. Hal gave her such a special hug she still felt good.  My mouth must have fell open something fierce ‘cause I ain’t even realize it was open ‘til Miss Jackie told me to close it before a fly went in it and why I was looking at her like that.  I told her how Papa told us we ain’t to never ever ever talk about special hugs in front of no one and that I was surprised she was talking about it all easy like that.

I tells you, there must have been something in them damn pancakes ‘cause my mouth was just a going that morning!  Next thing I know I’m telling her about the time Papa slapped May-May something fierce ’cause she mentioned it in the kitchen once and only us girls was there.  He immediately apologized for hitting her, but we were to NEVER talk our Special Hugs again not even with each other.  Something in Miss Jackie’s face changed, I remember it did looking back on it, but I wasn’t old enough then to get it and like I said my mouth was running on it own accord that morning.

“Special Hugs?”  She asked.

“Yeah” I said, stuffing my face with the pancakes she had just placed in from of Olivia and me. “Like the one you and Mr. Hal had last night when I passed your room as I was going to the bathroom.  I ain’t know grown folks makes so much noise with their special hugs.  I closed your door. Papa says the door should always be closed and locked and we need to be quiet when he’s giving us our Special Hugs.  I guess ya’ll forgot.”

That’s when the bowl holding the next batch of pancakes Miss Jackie was mixing hit the floor.  Olivia and I jumped.  Twice.  First from the bowl dropping then again when Alethia, May-May and Cassie came tearing into the kitchen right behind it.

Miss Jackie was staring at me kind of funny like and I think that be about when I got the first sinking feeling that maybe something wasn’t no where near right.  May-May saw Miss Jackie looking at me and asked me what I done did to her.  I told her I ain’t done anything but ask her about her Special Hugs from Mr. Hal.  Then May-May starts in on me on how Papa says we’ ain’t suppose to talk about it at all and now Miss Jackie’s gonna tell Papa and how we three all gonna get it for sure.  I was trying to tell May-May how Miss Jackie done talked about it first, but all Cassie heard was how Papa gonna whup us and she starts bawling.

Cassie’s bawling starts Olivia bawling and I declare that girl is the most sorry-fullest looking thing on this here green earth when she gots her face all twist up in tears like.  Next thing I know we all up in that kitchen crying, Miss Jackie too.  She apologizing to us, we apologizing to her, Olivia and Alethia were apologizing and they damn sure ain’t had nothing to sorry about! It might have gone on like that for another half-hour at least, but then Mr. Hal walked in.

“What in the blazes…?”

Miss Jackie’s head snapped up at the sound of his voice.  It was years before I understood that unspoken language that grown folks who know each other well can speak, but Miss Jackie and Mr. Hal had to be speaking it that morning.  Ain’t nobody said a word as Mr. Hal washed his hands and took over making the pancakes in another bowl, Miss Jackie and us girls cleaned up the mess from the dropped bowl and soon everything seemed almost right back where they were before the bowl hit the floor.


There was this hincky feeling that kinda lay over everything.   Miss Jackie and Mr. Hal joked with us and just did all the things they always do with us girls when we all together.  Still,  every now and then I would see Mr. Hal sneak Miss Jackie a look and they would speak that quiet language of theirs and they would both look at me and my sisters for a short moment with this sad look.

They sent us girls out in the front yard to play after breakfast, which we did.  Olivia and Alethia had snapped-out of their crying spell by then, but May-May and Cassie kept giving me dirty looks.  It felt like everybody was a blaming me for something Miss Jackie done started!  I couldn’t see where, but I knew I had somehow messed up Miss Jackie’s good mood and I felt bad for that. I told May-May I was going round back to the kitchen to get some water.  I actually was fixing to tell Miss Jackie and Mr. Hal to go on back in their room and have another special hug if it would make Miss Jackie happy again.

Heavens, I was young!

I was actually going to say that!  I just felt so bad for messing up her good mood and if that was the thing that made her so happy in the first place I figured it would work again.

“Hal you can’t over there!  My God, Hendricks will kill you over them there girls!” Miss Jackie’s voice was all panicky.
“Dammit Jacqueline!  What am I ‘posed to do?  Wait ‘till he gits here askin’ for them and then tell ‘im he can’t have them?  Woman think! All the hell he’ll cause up in here in front of all the girls.” Mr. Hal was mad about something.  “I gots to take the fight to him. It’s the only way.” It was the first time I had ever seen him like that and I stopped in my tracks too scared to go in and too scared to run for fear they would hear me and think I was listening in grown folks business, which Papa always told us never to do.

“’Sides I ain’t going by myself.  I’m taking Patrick  and Rev Emerson with me.  We jus’ gotta pray he don’t come for the girls  ‘fore I gets back with them.” I could hear Mr. Hal walking, no stomping around in that kitchen.  I think he was trying to keep his voice quiet down, but he was just too upset. That made me feel just that much worse somehow knowing I was the cause of this too.  I had just about decided to go on back to playing when I heard the one thing I shouldn’t have.

“It’ll be all that much harder to take the girls away from him if they back in his house.”

I believe I done mentioned how my mouth was on its own accord that morning, because my head just wouldn’t kick in as I tore into the kitchen.

“Whatchu mean take us girls away from him?  Why you wanna take us from our Papa?” I was loud.  I know I was loud.  I’m constantly being told to bring my voice down; it tends to get a little up there and I wasn’t nowhere near trying to keep it down as I ran into the kitchen and got in Mr. Hal’s face like I was grown. I started hollering for May-May, which was kind of a wasted breath since she was already on her way in from when I started yelling in the first place.  Of course May-May running in brought Cassie, which brought Alethia and Olivia.

In less than a minute we had an even worse crying yelling and hollering about than before.  Miss Jackie crying trying to calm all five of us girls down.  May-May at me and me screaming at the top at top of our lungs about how ain’t nobody going to take us from our Papa, Cassie bawling again just because we were and Olivia and Alethia were just standing there tears running down their face.

Men are rarely any good when women starts to crying their heart out.  The poor man had Miss Jackie and the five of us little ones all at the same time. He just looked from one crying female to another and shook his head.
Somewhere in there I got the notion to just go tell Papa what they was trying to do and took-off.  At least I tried to.  May-May was on the other side of the room from me, but I was back in kitchen so fast standing in exactly the same spot I was in before, if I hadn’t heard the slamming of the screen door I wouldn’t have known I moved at all.  I realized it was May-May who held me back as she stood holding my arms now.

May-May had turned thirteen a few of months before and had her monthly for a while now.  The women folks were all “…youse a young womans now” when they be seeing her and she done gone and let it get to her head .  She started to boss me and Cassie around like she as grown as Miss Jackie. Calling us “dumb little girls who ain’t know nothin’ ‘bout nothin’!”, especially when Papa wasn’t around to hear her. I was so sick of her trying to be all big on me, like she grown too I turned on her.  I was yelling at her for being all mad because Papa just told her a couple of months ago that she be too old for special hugs from him now and she can’t get none no more and how she ain’t wanting me and Cassie to get none either.  Miss Jackie groaned and suddenly sat down like somebody done dropped the heaviest of loads on her shoulders -which looking back on it now is kind of exactly what happened- and started whispering the Lord’s Prayer.  May-May turned on me then and screamed at the top of her lungs.

“Rebecca in Jesus’ name will you just Shut. The.  Fuck.  Up!”

And for the first time in my life I understood what folks meant when they said the words, the earth stood still.

Nobody, but nobody called on the name of the Lord like that! Mr. Hall and Miss Jackie looked at me and May-May with this – this look.  I was some years older before I could fully understand the level of shock they must have been going through at that table to look like that and it had nothing to do with May-May cursing, but at that moment all I could think was: Now what I done did?

“You know don’t you, Myrna-May? That it’s not right?” Mr. Hal’s voice was so soft, barely above a whisper, but we all heard him right clear.  I ain’t realize how quiet it was in the kitchen again until I saw Livvie asleep in his arms at the table. I don’t even know when all of us sat down, but we all were.  May-May just hung her head down with these tears coming down her face.  It was a real quiet kind of cry. I ain’t never known Myrna-May to cry like that.  She always made noise.  She was either really happy, really sad or really mad. Even when she herself didn’t say anything, her face said everything. These quiet tears was something new to me and it scared me to the core. It scared me to the point that I was finally, finally did something I ain’t been able to do up to that point.

I shut-up.

“I hear some of the older girls talking about it. It took me a while to figure out it was the same thing.  It took me even longer to figure out what was supposed to be right and wrong.” Myrna-May’s voice was low.  It sounded like she was talking from way cross the room through some kind of fog, but I was sitting right next to her. She was speaking loud enough though because neither Mr. Hall nor Miss Jackie asked her to speak up.
“They make jokes about doing – it – with someone’s papa, but I could kinda tell by the way they talked that it really wasn’t right somehow.  They made it sound all nasty and everything but…” Myrna-May stopped and looked from Mr. Hal to Miss Jackie who nodded at her for her to keep talking.

”But if it’s supposed to be all bad and nasty, w-why does it feel so-so…good?”

Mr. Hal’s neck actually made a snap like sound when it popped-up.  We all heard it and turned toward the sound. I truly believe the ONLY reason Mr. Hal didn’t completely explode at the moment was his girl asleep in his arms.  Miss Jackie had jumped-up quick like, ready to catch Olivia if he had, but he stayed in his chair.  Even so, the look on his face just before he looked down at the floor again scared Myrna-May and me so bad we grabbed each other’s hands.  Miss Jackie came and put her arms around me and Myrna-May.  Alethia came and rubbed May-May’s arm.  I ain’t quite sure how, but everything clicked at that moment for me.  It all just sort of came together.  I looked up at everything and everyone around me and as usual I said the first things that came out of my heart.

“Our Papa’s not suppose to give us special hugs is he, May-May?”  I asked Myrna-May.

“No, Rebbie honey, not like that.”  She squeezed my hand.  She had stopped crying, but she was still speaking in that far away voice.

“It’s something grown men folk only supposed to do with grown womenfolk only.  Never, ever with children.”  Miss Jackie added and there was something – final – in her voice.

“We ain’t ever going back to our Papa is we?”  I guess there was something final in my voice too because they both looked at me kind of hard, but soft and Mr. Hal sighed real hurt like.

“No, Rebecca honey, you can’t.”  Miss Jackie stroked my face speaking in that that same low across the room sound that Myrna-May had. Miss Jackie ain’t never used my whole name unless it was something really good or really bad.

I ain’t have to ask which one was what .

To this day, I have yet to decide if it was for better or for worse.  Way, way, way down deep, where I don’t want to really even admit it to myself, if I had to do it over again, even knowing all that I know now all these years later, I think I would have made more of an effort to keep my mouth shut.

30/30 – 16 | Card

The only thing I ever got off my old man was a birthday card when I was like, twelve. He’d run off when I was six. leaving me, Mama and Sis to fend for ourselves. He had stayed in my life just long enough to make memories for me, but not solid ones.  Mama never talks about him, but being a few older than me, my sister remembers him.

“Tell me about Papa.” I remember I asked Sis a few years back.

“Huh?” She looked at me, pushing her dank hair back from her eyes.  She was already small in build, but looked down right emaciated in the wife beater that was way too big for her frame.   The strap slid and I saw a little too much of her breasts as she took the near empty bottle of vodka from between her legs and leaned forward to put it on the table. I move my eyes to look look at her arms instead. The inside of her forearms  by were scabbed from all the scratching she did and I noticed she had two new perfectly mean looking fresh ones to match all the rest.

“I said, what was Papa like?’

She smiled at me, her eyes not really seeing me at all.  I realized then just how drunk she was, again, and should probably ask later if I can catch her sober.

Anyhow, the only thing I ever got from him was a birthday card when I was twelve. I remember it was addressed to me, it was the first piece of mail I received that was not junk. It said “Happy Birthday Son!” on the outside it, with some little boy younger than me wearing a grown man’s suit and carrying a brief case. Printed on the inside of the card was a sad little rhyme:

You were once so small, I know
Now look at you, so big and strong now!
Though you’ve got more growing to go,
until you’re a man, won’t be so long now.

The excitement of my first mail crashed immediately as my first thought was how would he had even known if I’d gotten big or tall.  It’s not like he had ever come by to see me or Sis. But the killer was, at the bottom of the card, below the rhyme, he wrote:

Keep your chin up and your back strong, see you around.

I studied the card on several occasions, trying to work out the meaning to what he was telling me. To this day, I still didn’t know. I showed it to Mama who looked at the card long enough to verify the writing before she drowned herself in Jack Daniels for the day.

“What was Papa like?’ I asked again a few days later. I

I had caught Sis at the sink washing dishes, trying to be being the dutiful daughter.  That probably meant she must have needed money, again, and was sucking up to our mother.  She looked up a little, thought about my question for a moment and then said, “Strict.”


“Strict?” I prompted her when she fell silent.

“Not strict as in mean, just like you know rigid. He had his way and that was it. His way was usually right, but I remember wishing he would at least listen sometimes first you know. Listen to see if I was right because I was right, not because he was.  Come to think of it, it where you get being so headstrong from when you think you’re right.  Only he was better looking.” She winked at me and smiled that lovely smile she only had when she was happy and sober.

Mama had kind of folded in on herself when Papa left. She crawled into her own bottle and never really came out. Only doing just enough to keep a roof over, fridge partially filled and clothes on. Sis was really my my mom and my pops.  All the important things I learned, I learned from her. Sometimes by good example stay in school and get good grades, or by horrible warning, don’t drink, don’t do drugs. I’m still trying to work out how Sis who was once smart enough to be class salutatorian in middle school, was too messed-up to listen to her own advice by sophomore year of high school. Then again she is my mama’s daughter. Sometimes, I see a strange man sitting at the kitchen table and I honestly won’t know from which bed he crawled. And going by age don’t help none. Mama was once dating hah! a guy who wasn’t much older than me and I was all of sixteen then. And hell, if sis is almost twenty-seven now, then she could not have been more than seventeen that time she had to give her man at the time the dentures he left in her bedroom so he could eat breakfast. And me? I’m twenty-two now, transferring to State on scholarships just to get the hell out of this town. I got a good future ahead me, so they say. Though they been saying so for years  now and I haven’t seen this good future yet.  But I digress…

Anyway,  I got that one card from my pop. I found half of it while I was cleaning my room as I was packing. I had forgotten I had ripped it in half in anger when I was fifteen or so I was so angry with this unknown specter that somehow had more a presence in our lives in absentia than he probably would have had were he there.

Keep your chin up and your back strong,

Like this was some sage mystical wisdom passed down through the ages.  I didn’t know who he was, or where he was  or what he did or anything much beyond a name. But he knew where I was to send the card.  Why couldn’t he have actually been a father for one extra minute? Or better yet, had taken one extra to think about it and not send this shit card in the first place.  We don’t hear a thing from him for years, until he sent this shit and I haven’t heard jack shit from him since. So what the fuck was that about anyway? I was twelve years old for fuck’s sake! I was his son! Was it easy for him to just keep going the fuck on like I didn’t exist? I remember raging to Sis just before I let her rip, literally. The riiiiiiiip was loud in the immediate silence following my tirade as I threw the pieces to the floor. Sis took the torn pieces, taped it together and gave it back a couple of days later. I was grateful, then. But that was then.

A nearly full year sober Sis was sitting on the bed helping me pack. She smiled a sad little smile and chuffed me on the arm as I reached for the other half of it, then held the two pieces together to read it once more.  I spoke to the specter one last time.

I spent years, years,  waiting for another sign of your acknowledgement of my existence that never came.  Do you know how long that fucked with me?  No more. 

I let the pieces fall into the garbage bag on the floor.

The Between

He brings her a bracelet and a bunch of roses
For the fifteen years they’ve been together
She reads the card and the bracelet’s engraving
And something gut deep in her looses its tether
Conclusions once jumped to became solid proof
As Dinah reads his words of love to a Heather

She smiles sweetly handing him a poisoned plate
It’s a slippery slide between love and hate

She’s always been ‘such a good little girl‘
But she was never up to snuff among the pseudo rich
All she wants is to have what all of them have
For kids are cruel to those not matching their niche
Just once she cries, her fingers touch the jewelry case
Filled with a longing so deep her eyes start to twitch

She lets go of the ring and walks away from the site
It’s a slippery slide between wrong and right

A mother gently rocks her new-born babe
The first to come home after many tries
A stray bullet sails through the pastel drapes
And the newborn babe, quickly dies
The husband knows he’s lost more than his child
By the hollow blank stare of his wife’s eyes

And all he’s ever loved leaves this proud man bereft
It’s a slippery slide between life and death

Machines click, whoosh and beep their sounds
His sister copes by force of sheer will they say
But without a transplant, her body deteriorates
And all wonder if she’ll make it another day
They found a match! There’s a thread of a chance
And for the first time in years he kneels to pray

That she makes it as the organ flies through the air
It’s a slippery slide between hope and despair

When he was young it was always “not me”
Even when he was caught red-handed
As he got older the fibs were more creative
Going with whatever the need demanded
All but one he could lie straight in their faces
His truth and lies mixed as he commanded

He said he loved her, but walked away with a sigh
It’s a slippery slide between white and blatant lies

He kisses her cheek, ready to take her home
But he can’t seem to get his thoughts in sync
She feels so good as she leans in oh so close
Knowing she’s had far too much drink
But the scent of her thrills him and she can’t say no
They’re both naked and done before he can think

She never talked, but his own bullet put his guilt to rest
It’s a slippery slide between his love and incest

Hadn’t seen each other since grad school
Where animosities brought love’s ugly rend
Now global businesses made them partners
But will their past uphold or upend?
Their eyes lock as she comes off the passageway
Somehow knowing they’ve regained more than a friend

Two shy smiles first start to grin, then burst into laughter
It’s a slippery slide between good-bye and happily ever after

The between is that space that we hold dear
The whispers of hope in our ear
That susurrus haunting our deepest fear
It can save you from a life of crime
One step further from a life that’s prime
Or straight into the end of your earth’s time

It’s the slippery slides that no one can eschew
But how you handle them? Well that’s up you


Hyde Park – Poets Rally Week 69 (June 7-June 13, 2012)

Always Ready To Open

Here is the only important thing I know about closets…

When you’re the one who has trapped yourself inside,
there are only two ways out…

Having the door ripped from the handle
exposing all which you’ve tried contain
whether it’s ready to be seen or not
by the world.


By placing your hand on the handle
taking a deep breath and coming out
on your own terms, letting the world in
at your own pace

Because, whether you realize it or not,
the door is always ready to open
all you have to do is
handle it.