Other Doors
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Other Doors

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Understanding the Power of "No"

A Collaborative Effort With Barry Dawson IV

there's a good chance we're all
fighting some useless battle
syncing ourselves to a common
cause that will only erupt and leave
us without victory but we're too
stubborn to admit defeat especially
when we're still breathing

Jana says, "I ain't going back home
to the bullshit waiting for me."
and I understand, I connect with her
she makes perfect sense in
this land of the remaining living
she sweeps her face across the
vibrissae of her Calico, appropriately
named "Bubbles" and I wonder
what it feels like to still be
able to touch something that doesn't
drive you crazy

Rob interjects — cuts his way into
our conversation and rebuts, "Jana,
what would you do without that
damn cat of yours?"
I stand with my feet crisscrossed
perplexed by his words and
think out loud, "What a man thing
to say, you idiot. How insensitive!"

now I'm the center of attention
but Jana is smiling, stroking Bubbles
gently, her eyes light up and she
waits for me to say something else
the only thing I can muster up is,
"No one asked you to join us.
Why are you even here?!"
at that moment, I understand what
the power of no means

my granny used to say, "If you don't
want their energy around you, make
it known. Tell them 'No, this is my
space and I won't have you invade
it. This is a place of peace, love, and
acceptance. Nothing more.
Nothing less.'"
and as those words come out
my mouth, Rob turns a beet color
and walks away in a huff

Jana lifts Bubbles up and brings
her back down to her chin and
kisses her tri-colored face
and I watch her, loving on
the one thing that still remains —
giving her peace, love, and
acceptance and the joy crowding
us becomes infectious

she can't go back home
I no longer have a home
and this place we've made
our home we have to fight for
but oddly enough, neither of
us would rather do anything
else — neither of us have the
desire to do anything else

anything else, bruh
I would have parted with
anything else, loaned Rob
anything, gifted anything
but not this gift, bruh,
and not to name names, but
not the last treasure Leslie and I
made together before she passed,

even as Rob grinned the silly grin
of hopscotchin’ line-crossin’
familiar fools who know they are
about to ask the unaskable,
only to ask anyway,
placing the onus squarely on me
to etch out the boundaries,
fumbling as I fetch the chalk,

replaying the tape of excuses
in my head with an overwhelming
dread, fighting the confrontation
of saying what I said in my mind
— and I swear on everything, I was
the first to come up with this non-excuse;
totally on accident, organic,
and within the confines of the moment,

I looked that unbearably
overbearing man square in the eye,
aware of my own voice as I tried
and failed to manufacture a
viable excuse, and in a
confident tone belying my
inner-conflict, I heard myself say,
smooth as maple syrup
over buttery, buttermilk pancakes,
“Uhhhhm… no.”

Barry Dawson IV and I have been collaborating for years (over ten now at this point) and I have always thought our words meshed well together. This is just one of many of our works together, another is below. Thank you for reading.

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From haiku to hefty memoirs - poems, stories and essays that break through the bullshit. Looking for pieces that go far beyond cliché to uncover a new realm of possibilities. Other Doors features writing that leaves the reader with genuine congenital reactions.

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Tre L. Loadholt

Tre L. Loadholt

I am more than breath & bones. I am nectar in waiting. “You write like a jagged, beautiful dream.” ©Martha Manning •https://acorneredgurl.com

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