The Chaos That Makes Poetry

I exist in the shadows. Everything I’ve learned I’ve learned in code. Life is the greatest secret unraveled through language wrapped underneath a native tongue.

hebrew: מִסְתָּר | mistar: a secret, a hiding place

What do I know? I know pain is a prototype. I know tangents are portals to other worlds I’ve learned to visit without permission. I know being 23 is not grown, and 25 is a quarter century. I know one day I will be a quarter century and well deserving of a purple heart. My innocence has been crippled, bruised but I’ve bred flowers and concrete roses. I know loss. I know tears bear salt. I know emotions have a taste; a stomach I had to make room for. I know love has teeth. I’ve bitten the wrong fruit and chewed up blood for tomorrow’s bath. A storm. I know her eyes wanted to fuck me. I’ve never had to tell a woman her idea could start a war. That my lap wasn’t ready to unlace insecurities or make love to broken ribs. Love thyself. You can’t secure a storm with the roots I can give. I know brotherhood is another word for casualty. I know she was touched that year. I know because she told me she didn’t want to live anymore. I coughed up blood in repentance for responsibility that felt embedded. I know she hugged me empty. I prayed her body didn’t become a war field. I know she cried when she found a pattern in someone’s lie. I know a casualty that was a brother to me. I know that pain can lead to liquor. I know that murphy has laws and her birthday will never be the same. I know she was told I was seeing someone. I know she didn’t know how to confront a lie. I still feel guilty for not staying long enough to protect her innocence. I know she’s learning to love in pieces. I know she’s not a broken record. I know self-love is a revolution because a year later she still hugs me.

I was the start of a baptism.

Tangent 1:

What does it mean to be a word smith? A writer. I struggle with answers for things I never had dreams to become. A cannon, an act of rebellion. A synagogue, a revolution tucked in the Quran inside of a prayer. Hip-hop laced with the holy ghost, a contradiction in my own walk. Red, blue, vein––water, vase, a rose. whatever makes a poem. i’ve bled in mediums language failed to pull teeth. i no longer bleed on sidewalks.

I never asked to know these things.

Tangent 2:

I never knew how to write about you. How do you tell someone that foreplay is in the heart of fingerprints imitating stardust? That language is more stomach than it is teeth. How do you tell someone you’ve seen a couch breathe? That– you would jump a bone for a ribcage, a chance for 2 years not feel so young.

I’ve always been attracted to mirrors. Souls that travel eons to a vessel language has reduced to a body. Complexity is just a word. A victim of age, my last relationship with the moon was a testament that love is not always enough. They will always want more. But they will knock–– strip away insecurities only to ask an apartment. Kiss your wounds gently trading knives for a heart. They will make love to a hurricane. They will find a little boy playing a trumpet in the rain. They will mistake him for a martyr. A marching band, Marvin Gaye. I still don’t know how to play jazz notes for broken records I’ve made out of hearts. They will ask for marriage, they will not ask for permission. They will ask for faces a 23 year old body does not know how to commit. My only reference is my father. I know at 23 my mother had two children, and a husband who didn’t know how to stay long. They will ask if you know how. No. I’m still learning to love my nephew how a father would love his. It will become an old song, they will find someone else. They will grow tired and ask to move away. You will let them. This will hurt but you were never meant to keep people who came in your life as a bridge.

Tangent 3:

Being absent is the most present I’ve felt in a year. This winter reminds me of blue. Skeletons, a backbone, hues, a sky, resilience, heartbreak––– truth. The other day a woman gave me flowers. This has nothing to do with the story but a token of a friendship. A week later I was complimented a walking sculpture. I read Baldwin in the middle of a sidewalk going through a renaissance. I’ve never learned how to cry but I know poetry is just chaos scattered in dust, and this boy, this black boy just tryna to heal.


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