Let Go

The journey from worrier to warrior
is a minor shift in tonal resonance
barely noticeable in some parts.

You just unpucker your mouth
(and butt cheeks)
a scooch,
look to the winds, and exhale.

Strength doesn’t come to those
who never fear; they don’t need it.
The arrogance of stupidity is self-contained.
Strength comes to those wise enough
to see the possibility of defeat
and dismiss it.

Never quit. Never quit. Never quit…
except worrying. That shit you can just
let go.

T’ree A.M.


It t’ree a.m.
High I&I
rakkle and roll,
swing an’ sway,
irie feelins t’ru de day.
Night-a call, me
sess a-blow,
rakkle me brain now
don’ cha know.

It t’ree a.m.,
me reggae flow,
bounce ‘pon de train
an’ mek we go.
T’ru dem tunnel,
out de side,
down we block,
so me can hide.
Rakkle and blow,
Sess na sway,
life naw good
it waste away.

Handful of Blues

Monday Night is blues Night
so I wrote you a song that go
something like dis.

I was born with the blues in my hand.
I thought it was a flesh axe,
but it was a silent guitar that only played one note.
If you’d been there, I’d have sung it for you,
but I doubt you’d have heard me.

The doc let me home with a slap on the ass
and the usual kick in the balls.
We paid him for the one, but the other was on the house.

It always seems that when I sing the sweetest—
my softest songs—
can’t nobody hear me.
Y’all don’t hear me neither.
And ‘round about 4 (years not o’clock)
I wrote you a sweet song and called it
“my head is full of you but my hands
only caught the blues.”
Mama would sang it wif’ me,
but she only sings off-key, and her one note
sounded like a song she wrote
to my melody.
Still, it made me feel good, knowing
I had accompaniment
of a sort, and I needed some damn
I’m telling you.

So when I met you,
lyrics in your left hand, sheet music in your
sweet pocket,
I figured we’d sit the fuck down
and finally write all them goddamned blues
I was born with.
I gots a muthafucken library of ‘em,
as you prolly know,
and they all have happy endings,
my songs,
‘cause see
somebody’s songs got to.

I got a pocket full of you
but my hands are left
holding the
muthafucken blues.

(With thanks to Michael Burks for the inspiration.)

Sing a Song of Fake Likes

Sing a song of bloggers
a pocket full of likes
four and twenty photos
most are of bikes
they don’t know you don’t read
politely like you back
so your imaginary friends
can lick along your crack

Why the hell do you care?
Why the fakery?
Click like on all the unread poems
or foodies’ bakeries.
You have such pretty photos
(yeah, right)
They really are a hit
but please, don’t come and visit me,
’cause I don’t need that shit.


i wonder if you’d mind
if i traded a thousand of your likes
for a single smile.
would it offend you, could i be
for my antisocially friendly request?
i wonder if you’d hear me
over the tip-tapping sound
your phone makes as you
abbreviate our interactions.
i reckon not, you see, because
though we’ve established a hundred
times per day that you like me,
it’s not at all clear that you
actually see me.

and we both know
y’all don’t hear me.

i wonder if you’d mind
if i shut you off,
pulled your plug,
and turned to the trees
instead of the screen. they
never mind, even when i’d
cut them down to leave you
missives that you’re now
too busy to read. i wonder
if you’re in there, and
at times i have to resist
the urge to shake the phone
and see if you’ll fall out
into my palm.
i’d kiss all your buttons
if you did that.

but you’re not in there,
are you?

i wonder if you know
that i’m not even there
when you see me. i wonder
if you’ll click my pic
to see i’ve been in the world
for a minute and forgot how
to interweave all my bits
with yours.
it doesn’t really matter,
i suppose,
since you like me,
heart me,
sometimes even leave me
love letters–
like idk lol wtf didugo?

i went … out.

and i wondered if you’d
but you didn’t, because
you were busy spending
your precious air time
looking down,
and i don’t live there
any more.

i’m still out …
where the air
like chocolate.
you remember chocolate —
kinda looks like #C85A17
and tastes really great
with a cuppa hot #6F4E37.

i made you some–
hoping you’ll look up,
walk over, and grab you
of my likes.

mine come with kisses
that’ll wet your earholes.

just so y’all will
hear me.

Ferguson, NO MO

Security forces charge demonstrators after being hit by water bottles during a protest against the shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson
I can hear the shouting,
though it’s vague and difficult to discern
over the clamor of the newsie, verbal paparazzi
providing us 24×7 coverage of
“We don’t really give a shit,
but they never did find that fucking Malaysian plane.”
Beneath the civil unrest, there’s bubbling turmoil.
“We’ve been here before” and
Missouri trees bear strange fruit,
blood on the streets, brothas to shoot.
But poets whisper, the street urchins
are beat-boxing ’bout Nikki Minaj’s booty
and Jay-Z’s beatdown in elevator shafts
that only go down, while rising.

Back inna day, there’d be a different
Nikki at the microphone
and she wouldn’t be whispering. But
these are the days of million-dollar
hip-hop “poets” too busy in their box seats
to be bothered with the streets.
I wonder if the revolution happened
Brother Gil told us it wouldn’t be televised
but I thought CNN might have mentioned it.
So I sit back and remember 1970
because visions of Kent State, as fractious
and damnable as they are
remind me that pigs hate whitey too.

Hell, the only thing we have left
is hatred,
ain’t it?

I can hear my grandma calling:
“Somebody turn the channel. This damn
television is stuck on 1970.”
Maybe somebody should write
a song about it. Want ta hear it?
Here it go:
“Ain’t no niggas, ain’t no whiteys
ain’t no magic anymo’
Ya’ll don’t hear me, though I’m shoutin’
Ain’t no Ferguson, No MO.

I don’t think this microphone is turned on.

Him a Shotta


Him a shotta
livin life on him edge.
Girl by de side, she wait
for him light fe break.

“Why fe you a romeo?”
she say, but him naw respond
‘cau him a shotta,
and him too hard fe speak.

But she naw sceered a him.
His frown mek her wet
down dere in her tropical flow
so she a-come back at him,
“Deny dem shottas and refuse thy game.”

“Gwan, girl,” him say.
“My naked weapon is out; quarrel,
I will back ‘pon you.”

“Dem’s not your words,” she say.
“‘Sides, me have seen ya weapon,
and dat ship naw sail.
“Ya kiss by de book.”

“Me gwine kiss ya in yon’ tropics.
Beseech ya girl, come by me,
and come, girl, an’ come.”
So she gon’ swoon a bit,
and Romeo, him continue,
“Arise, and a come, fair sun,
burn ya’ tropics and kill
de envious moon.”

“Again, I say, ‘Deny dem shottas
and refuse dey game.’”

“And if I will not?”

“Den be but sworn my love
and I’ll be a shotta too.”
And she t’row down she rope
and say, “Climb up, bway,
an’ be quick. Me feelin’ a tropical
storm a-come.”

“Me come, fair Juliette. Me come,
me come, and come, and



I hate to see you go, girl,
but damn I love to watch you leave
taking with you
the better bits of me
and thus I sat, remote in hand
and a marathon of meaningless
mediocrity minding me
from across the first-floor
prison. It was empty
in bed without you, baby,
and I couldn’t stand the way
your side cried.

I hate to see you go, my baby,
but don’t those stars shine
the way they point me to you?
but you shoulda left your star map
so’s I could find my way
just to watch you leave, because
in truth, baby, you ain’t never

I know, ’cause I can see your
scent when I shut my ears and
your colours run
through my mind
and I’m breathing but they ain’t
no air up amongst the stars
so, come back to bed,
my baby, the place where
wives is supposed to lay.

‘Cause, I don’t like to watch you leave
that much.

Naw, girl, I’m lying.
I still love to watch you