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November 2017

Invisible Woman

I can either be the bitchy black woman
or the meek house girl.

For women of my complexion there is no middle safe ground.

I’ve tried.

I’ve studied the moves, the tone, the ideation of a non-threatening, yet self assured white woman and imitated it perfectly.

It doesn’t work.

It doesn’t work because I’m not the issue, my response isn’t the issue, my womanhood isn’t the issue.
The color of my skin is the issue, the kink in my hair is the issue.

Any man is entitled to me, based on the darkness of outer shell covering.

Imagine living in that.
Imagine living in a shell that gives people power over you. That entitles them to treat you in ways that confound even the most resilient human spirit.

We are at a bar.
A man approaches my white girlfriend. She is wary and uninterested, the conversation is tense and unwanted but ends abruptly and safely. We come out unscathed.
She is my shield.
Her whiteness saves me.

I’m at happy hour alone, lamenting a hard days work.
The first thing I feel is a hand on my ass, I feel a hot breath on my neck.
Telling me how sexy and appealing I am, commentary on my body, and assertions of what is to come.
I shift in my seat and the hand moves to my arm and hardens to a grip.

Or walking along the side of the road with my dog,
and a man stops his car near me, gets out and walks up behind me.
Asking my name, imploring me to stop moving, to come with him, to jump in his car and be with him. Objectionable characterizations of me are inserted ad hominem.
I have to run.

Every woman experiences these horrors on the reg.

But as a Black Woman I cannot win in any arena.
I cannot defend myself without becoming the very thing that invites such vitriol and I cannot hide or whimper and victimize myself.
I cannot seek help from my lighter sisters, because they don’t understand the effect of my dark skin on male behavior.
They don’t see it, they don’t feel it

and in turn
I

am

Invisible.

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Familiar

I want to ask you
why you said that,

Why were your eyes so desperately sad
as you recited the lines
written for you

I want to
sit down with you
walk through

graffiti alleyways
and grungy beach walks

follow your plot-line outside its
celluloid confines

make you real
help me feel

the lie between my reality

and yours.

Droplet

Long, thin,
and pale fingers

reaching
like

dagger-ed icicles
towards me

one pricks the shallow

hollow of my neck and
draws a scarlet pearl of blood

my blood doesn’t run like a river
or flow like a stream
it doesn’t share properties with land, hearth

family

it isn’t

it’s

alien

Gravel Gardens

Lu Terlikowski’s “Gravel Gardens” rocked my heart today. The simplicity of it, the building of tension and the heart rendering ending, all centered around a little tree. Lovely and poignant. I like to think of it as a survival story…

Trip Home

 

 

Home.

It ripped a hole in me so deep and wide
the entirety of old me fell out
cold and viscid on the patchwork floor.

My new cheeks hot with shame
I didn’t bother to clean me up.
Bur didn’t profane to divert my eyes either.

I watched my old self evanesce through the cracks
in what used to be my sanctum

my hearth of red stone bricks
my room walls, colored like the tumultuous warm seas
of the South Pacific.

You can’t have both roots and wings
you can’t.
You just can’t!

If you try, one will cripple the other

Those sturdy walls slowly cracked and arched
disintegrating under my feet
and the warped visage of my once-homestead faded
slowly into blackness

Then comes the pain
the Via Dolorosa.
The throbbing hole left by your
departing specter
must force mend
to guard from
desolations potent infection.

Home

It destroyed my once rosy view
and shattered what was left
of my innocence and youth.

leaving me empty, and turbulent
refusing to mourn.

You cannot mourn
because it was
not
true

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