masked before.

i’ve been wearing masks long before the pandemic started
i have them in different designs and a few different colors
the lipstick shade of brown and red mixed together works
really well for avoiding the are you ok questions
and if i follow the curve of my lip well enough
i forget which mask im wearing

my eyes serve as walls that barricade tears
and i tend to avoid eye contact with anyone
for meeting in the middle leaves me powerless
and just like now i wear my mask to protect not only myself
but i wear them to protect you too
who knows how my words would you hostage if i let them flow freely

and on the rare days i feel safe enough to leave my mask behind
don’t worry i make sure to stay 6 feet away
far enough that the scent of depression doesn’t make anyone curious
and if by chance i cry without my mask on
i’ll be sure to bury my head into my hands
i’ll quarantine for as long as i need to
and i’ll emerge when i feel better
and maybe by that time, masks will no longer…
who I am kidding..

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Undivided Attention, Divided Comprehension

In August 2020 my friend, Kayla, reached out to me asking if I wanted to collaborate with her on a poem she really wanted to create. It was a poem that would serve in memory of a dear friend of hers. After listening to her and hearing how passionate she was, I of course couldn’t wait to bring this poem to life. Kayla, knows that I absolutely love to write and I do so passionately. However, she also knows that most of what I write stays behind the doors of my many designed notebooks and journals.

I’m thankful that she approached me with this and made sure that not only did I write piece for the poem but she also wanted me to RECORD myself reciting it. If you know me at all, you know that recording my poetry is so out of my comfort zone. I’m glad I was pushed out of it though because I found something on the outside of where I am comfortable. I found many doors, yet to be unopened. I can’t say what is beyond the doors, but I know I’ll never find out settling on comfort.

Here it is, my first ever recording piece of work along with a dear friend of mine, Kayla Mabry. Our poem, Undivided Attention, Divided Comprehension, in memory of Quamaine.

Enjoy

Undivided Attention, Divided Comprehension

(Kayla) Excuse me while I stand on my soap box for what I believe I’ll SHOUT from the roof tops “NO JUSTICE-NO PEACE” The media’s made sure this has our Undivided attention We’ve all read, seen, and heard it – the problem comes from divided comprehension This isn’t patatoe/patatoe this is human life “I hear what you saying!” BUT YOU’RE NOT READING IT RIGHT If your skin looks like mine, you have no first hand experience If you’re ONLY listening to reply, you’re not really hearing it Now close your mouth, Open your mind put away the twitter fingers this don’t even need a reply Do I have your undivided attention? Because as you continue to listen – The world needs you to comprehend There’s no hidden meaning – IT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE US AGAINST THEM

(Candice) I hope my words are heard just as clear as the ones spoken before me A black woman speaking her mind, Lord I hope they don’t ignore me Checking my watch cause time is crucial, and I got a lot of shit to say Watching another black brother getting shot in the street is now considered “Just another day” While you’re on THE FENCE, I’m on DEFENSE and I promise it is not the same thing It should not be the norm to read in headlines about the death of another Black King And yes, crime is crime and a wrong is wrong and in that aspect you are right But you mean to tell me if my Black brother has a criminal record the price to pay has to be HIS LIFE And for the mentally unstable who are not able to communicate what is on the mind Should they really be silenced with bullets because they could not comprehend a command when it was given the first time Two men with guns, but only one is killed and not because the other was tougher Two men with guns, only one is killed, simply cause one was a brother You focusing on my anger makes you blind to my pain and in result you’ll never hear my message Why when a white person is passionate it’s deemed okay, but a black person is labeled aggressive There can’t be unity in you and me because we aren’t treated the same You can’t blame the media for racial issues when behind closed doors your hatred remains Listen, I mean really listen. Can you hear the pain dragging on the heels of these words Countless Black brothers, sisters, and even CHILDREN are dead. Don’t you think a little justice is what we deserve? People weighing in on black tragedy, telling us how we should feel when you haven’t a clue on what we’ve endured When all we’ve been trying to say is that black lives matter just as much as yours

Can I Borrow Your Black

With every swallow of hated caviar your diversity grows

That is what my Black is to you

Will I ever be more than your accessory

The hand me down necklace you only wear when you need to feel better about yourself

I am the conversation you hesitate to bring up

The favor you hate to ask for

My Black is the beauty you hate to admire

Unless it is admiration you can take credit for

Can I borrow your Black, she asked

Can I make you feel important enough to feel included

So that when I show off your color as my own

People will think I am genuine when I preach about equality

She wants to borrow my Black

As if my Black is something I offered to sell to the highest bidder

As if my Black is something I hand out when I need to be loved a little harder

You want to borrow MY BLACK

Would you take it if it came stained with blood

Would it still be valuable to you on the days it didn’t shine as bright

Would you still wear me if it meant you may not survive being pulled over

Are you willing to wear ALL the shades that make me

My Black is not here for your entertainment

I am not a pawn you can put in play so that you’ll be voted as the most likely to succeed

My Black is not the answer to the sins committed by your mother and father

My Black is not your salvation

My Black and all that comes with it

The terror, the pride, the success, the beauty, the wrongful deaths, the inequality, the assumption that I am the criminal in most rooms, did I mention the bravery

Baby that is all me

And it is a privilege

So no

Hell no, you can not borrow my Black