Poem: a reminder to keep caring

I lick an empty bottle

To find that the drops of sweat

Who slid down the bumps of my nose

Tumbled down onto my cupid’s bow

Crossed into that in-between stage of being alive

Have landed on the tip of my tongue

I scrunch up my nose at the salt

Because there’s already an ache at the bottom of my stomach

A pulse at the corner of my temples

A hazy disorientation threatening to topple me over

Everything screaming for attention

And so I cannot possibly deal with this too

I should be spitting out this disease coating my tongue

Go and find the bills I need to pay

At least enough for more than these polluted seas


All I can think about

Is how I was on the newspaper once


Jenny from the block


Jenny from the red lights

A pseudonym behind the anonymity of crime

Speaking on behalf of impoverished sisters

Willing the world not to turn a blind eye

Whether or not it worked

Is a matter of perspective

—A few headlines here and there

Mild concern sprinkled about

All lasting a glorious twenty-four hours


It seems my profession isn’t up to par

With everyone’s idea of decency

Not truly deserving of equality

Because my humanity is less than yours

I apparently think with my thighs

And cry to the pretty blue skies

In an attempt to be victimized

Don’t mind the rhymes

It’s a manifestation of my insanity

Of the hunger that is threatening to poison my veins

Or maybe crush my brain

Seep out of these pores that give me nothing but salt

Salt salt salt

Bitter and liquid and sliding down my body

No one wants to kiss with a mask

No one wants to touch with a mask

It’s my life or theirs

The decision was simply made for me

But people misunderstand me

Because I don’t want an appeal

I simply want a jury

I don’t want the nights on the street back

(As if it were a choice)

I don’t want the law to change

(I understand)

I don’t want the rules to bend

(Not that they would)

I don’t want to die

But if the pandemic doesn’t kill me

Starvation will

Now this bottle’s bottom is scratching my skull

Tangled in the knots of dry hair

Leaning against this district I come back to every night

Hoping and praying it’ll be different this time

I’m not offering justification

For these fractured episodes of my life

Or explanations

For the sins you’ve characterized me by

I’m simply asking to be remembered

To be treated like a human

Just this one time


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Poem: In Between

free-falling. into. a. culture. i. cannot. be. a. part. of. blood. and. water. poured. down. my. throat. to. poison. my. words. embarrassed. to. speak. my. own. language. researching. history. so. as.


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