Author: Charleston Poets

A cliché is a cliché

At least that’s what they say

A feeling only makes you feel

Some type of way

The trees sway, and sway

As the wind blows down the way

And the leaves take flight

Following the breeze

Down the breezeway

And the alliteration aligns 

With my emotions

This time

It all makes sense for once

But that’s a lie I

Tell myself

As I try to cry

To show myself that I

Understand something else

This thing,

Belongs to no man

Or woman or

Animal or


No such behavior has been exhibited by

A car or an ant

For I feel this feeling:

A cold touch (how cliché)

As if I’ve been swallowed

By the shadow of a ghost

A love lost

An undead host

A heart beats

Yet no blood flows

As I follow the shadow of a ghost

My hand sweats into my mother’s
Gripping her tightly as she mourns my brother

She sees his name printed on prayer cards stacked crisply on the porch
A framed photo stands in the same place
As my bridal portrait had two months before in the church reception hall

Pimento cheese sweats on lace lined tables
The ones with the dented legs that folded out that my mother found tacky

I told her we’d have to make some concessions
Bodies don’t keep.

It’s Not the Heat

It’s not the heat
It’s the humidity

Sticking soles of shoes to cement graveyards
Scattered with fried frogs and flattened flowers

It’s not the heat
It’s the humidity

Hair wild and witchy winding untamed
Worn with wilting wildflowers wound into crowns

It’s not the heat
It’s the humidity

Coronating us everglade empresses
Ending evenings with enchantments and incantations and elegies for our enemies

It’s not the heat
It’s the humidity

Sending storms sizzling across the swamps
Scaring spoiled sisters swarming for shelter in secret cypress sanctuaries

It’s not the heat
It’s the humidity

Driving dogs down deer-lined drives
Digging for dead girls and drug-fueled dalliances

It’s not the heat
It’s the humidity

Carrying our spells through lightning and thunder
To the cypress woods where you hid from the rain
When the men are in heat
Not just heat but humidity
Swimming through storms to find girls like you
Who’d been hexed by queens like us

It’s not the heat
It’s the humidity

My arms are spread wide on the cold pavement
as if I am asking for forgiveness from God above.
Blood leaks from my chest, my life suspended.

Have you ever seen a black man’s crucifixion? Just watch
the news, how the white chalk marks the spot where those black
thoughts once were alive but now a blackout, is the only
place any black man ever gets to see now.

Journaling captures my thoughts
like the event horizon of a black hole.
Otherwise the stardust of words
& particles of sentences would spiral around in my mind,
the chaos never subsiding & rest would –

Well, what is rest any way?

I’m grateful for the tether of my inner voice
which guides the pen in hand,
working in unison like Terra & Luna
capturing my thoughts once again to the event horizon—
compressing all wavelengths to a singular point.

It’s not that I shouldn’t, or couldn’t.
It’s what else would there be.
If it’s not now, then how could I see.
It’s there, I know.
Please, see, see.

And now here I am.
Alone but with you, but with it all.
Ah, it should be so fortunately me.
If it’s going to be what I want.
Can I make it.

And if I fall short,
I fall for you, with me.
It’s to there I want to see.
Its seeing that is believing.
Believe me.

Who do I think of when I think of you?
It feels. So Different.
Not you, not me.
What is that feeling?
Can I believe it?

How should it end?
What is it we think?
I think I feel something unique.
But then again,
It’s me.

Bird’s chirping, squirrels playing, nature’s natural order.
Ms. Ferguson should have today’s paper.

Tires screech, busses are filled with familiar faces.
Strands of grass wave in the distance.

Old timers play a game of chess in the park,
reminiscing on the bench where we played
I declare war.

Often I close my eyes
to calm my busy mind.
I sit and listen
to the melody of the Carolina Wren.

Running through the meadows till
we reach the top of the hill.

Hanging from the oak tree we don’t
want to be the first to let go.

Eye to eye here we stand;
under the tree’s shade we held hands.

Rocking back and forth in bliss;
the space is filled between our lips.

Often I close my eyes
to calm my busy mind.
I sit and listen
to the melody of the Carolina Wren.

Sweat and grime in our palms;
skipping stones across the pond.

Friends are gone when the sun goes
It’s just you and me now.

Side by side on the dock of the bay
in awe of the milky way.

A cool breeze invites fond memories;
I wonder if she’s forgotten about me?

In his parents living room
He took on a fleet of pills
And survived.
He vividly remembers
Being afraid.

His innocence was surely
Tampered with from the
Outside world,
As an adolescent
He’s bullied by
His peers.

They seem to not
Like him.
He’s a nice guy
But he’s unattractive.

Encased in his bubble
He’s invisible to
The public.
A loner with an
Alter ego
He shuns his
Super powers –

Distancing himself
His values.

Crafting jokes for laughs
At his own
Expense –

It takes a toll
On the class

A hanger on in search
Of his so called

They’re nowhere to be found.

Our Torn Shoes

We walk each day
In Our torn shoes
No Soles or laces
Just holes and feet.

No protection from broken glass
Nor hiding the scars that were caused
On the path once trotted
For the coming generation of our people.

Roads we’ve traveled of racial disparity and grieve
Revealing the true intentions of the thieves of this land
But yet,

(Sing) We feel like going on (2x), though trials come,

(Pause) On every hand, no foot,
With every step we take
We seem to break a barrier that once stood between us and our prosperity.
For the years of desiring sovereignty but being rejected has brought US to a place of determination
One that is much greater than any time because,
(Sing) We’ve had enough heartaches,
And enough headaches,
We had so many ups and downs
Don’t know how much more
We could have taken

(Pause) Yesterday,
Won’t stop your shine or your progress
Because success is
In the eye of the beholder of a brighter future,

To walk into;
In our torn shoes
(Sing) We have decided, determine we’re committed,
That we’ll run,

(Pause) No matter the cause,
The walking is soon done
Success has given US
Soles for OUR souls
To hold,
(Sing) I believe the storm will soon be over,
I believe OUR scars will fade away,
I believe, for the journey we have traveled, oh WE believe

(Pause) In Our Torn Shoes.

I like turning a no into a yes.
A smile into a gasp.
A grasp of the night
And what we might let pass.
Each turn of the moon,
Lost in my swoon,
A visage of you
Enters my view.

I put on a face, a hat,
To attempt to conceal
What I’m bad at.
I fall into love every night,
And climb out the next mourning.
Sometimes i feel like a high diver,
Gracefully spinning and twirling
In the air as I sail,
Revelling in my own overly dramatic flair.

You love everyone, too.
It’s honestly admirable considering
The fires that are bound to come when you
Heat up tinder to such extent.
The smoke obscures my view,
But the warmth remains.
Each mourning, a still
Beating heart speaks your name,
For the worse, or better.

I want to make you love me,
Up close, from afar,
I want you to miss me,
Even when I’m next to you.
I want your breath
To fog the insides of my brain.
I want you to scar my back,
Ripping my flesh, but leaving a souvenir.
I want my neighbors to hate you.

You make me flustered,
Beyond composure.
I make you laugh, and I like that.
The pearls that line your mouth
Deserve to be seen.
You said, this you can’t do.
I don’t believe you.
Again, I like turning a no into a yes.
A frown into a kiss.
An inch into a mile,
While you’re miles away
Still wondering, what if?
No one has to know,
But it will still be written on my lips.


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