Love, Steven

Art, Poetry

The feeling of being hurt by the first person you allowed to love you, and refusing to allow yourself to be loved ever again after.

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Sickness

Art, Poetry

Does whiteness

Get as sick

As i—

Ovehearing their negligence

Of black voice

As i do?

If not,

Why bother

Speaking?

Foresight

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By: Steven Underwood

Mirror,Mirror, cast upon me

Tell me anything I don’t see in the dark.
A bog of memberance.

Plagues inside me.

Scars so wide and deep within.

Tumoured sorrows,

Why was I cursed to live?

I drown in marshes

Swallow sadness, dirt and grime

I taste tomorrow,

I recoil,

Then, I hope you’ll save today.
Mirror,

Broke inside me,

Is this the reflection I paid to see?
Our hearts go forward,

Placed on scaling,

I wonder whose a true strength goes on.

Yours is tempered,

Sheltered from love,

But too many holes

And punctured plights .

Mine is golden,

Swelled too large and —

Surely it can no longer beat.
Mirror, Mirror —

Locked inside me,

Keep the light off of me,

My shame is that i fear always,

A lonely, cold destiny.

Mirror, mirror —

Please come for me.

I cant live on,

Please watch from here on,

Keep these shadows off of–

Save me from the world to be.

Im a saddened sun,

Whose lost intensity.

Voicemails to Heaven.

Poetry

Hey Dad, it’s me,

I hope you see

I’m really doing fine.

School is hard,

But I can make it far

as long as you look over me.

 

I do my best,

puff out my chest,

but I still hear your voice.

Sometimes it’s tough

Life gets so rough,

I just want you back.

 

You taught me how to swim up stream

How to stand, be seen

and to always love myself

and I don’t know if you heard:

but I do all so very well.

 

Make sure you visit your daughters,

You know we love them the best

 

Visit Danine’s Dreams,

Her potential will be unmatched

 

And they say I look like my father,

and I wish it was true.

God must’ve always knew

I would need you.

 

I pray every day,

From June through May

even if you can’t hear me.

 

I just want you to know,

I love you so,

even if the words can’t be.

 

I promised I’d try, every day

so I can’t delay,

but please forgive me…

I just couldn’t see

you not in your face.

 

 

 

Some days I wake and

cry free the waters,

because I know you won’t be

there to see me make you proud

and do so much for me.

 

Please know I’m real,

You know I can’t conceal

all the Truths in my face.

 

I’m sorry I couldn’t see your grave.

Betrayal at your side

I know you could hear at your bed

The moment I saw your eyes,

I knew you’d fight all your might,

but I couldn’t put you through

all the pain and bite

just so in case,

I could see your face.

 

The Guilt may take my soul,

but I’ll pay it whole.

 

Every price must be met.

 

As far as it’s me,

We’ll see,

The world will spin on more.

Just sweeten my sisters,

Your shadows must see,

Your glow in the eyes of

their loved men worthy.

 

Daddy, I love you so,

but I have to go

so receive these words as they stay.

 

And as I leave this phone,

And the agony dies

Just know,

I’ve learned how not to cry.

Resent

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By Steven Underwood

 

Numb like the first time I said I hate you,

That’s what I am,

I worshipped the wrong words we shared;

I bent the knee on brown rice and glass

And acknowledged the kinship like

The pupper lapping sweetened water from a bowl.

Neglect my sorrows once, and I will come

Neglect my tears twice, and I follow

Neglect my heart thrice, cross it, and I will die

I hope those days are over

I pray that solace into my open palms

My bare lap

And my solemn dreams.

Then maybe I can finally feel

A Wall

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By Steven Underwood

 

You walk into a black wall and barely recognize that it’s built of brown bodies

And ask if something is the matter with how it is formatted.

There are arms mangled into the body, jabbing into broken ribs and closed mouths and shuttered eyes and pork-rolled tongues.

There is sweat dripping down their body in crimson, mingling with blood in a marriage of decay and debauchery and self-loathing.

You still wonder if something is the matter with how it is formatted.

You turn to the Asian pharmacist around the corner and ask him, and he has no answers and so you ask the Jewish librarian, and he ignores you outright. You ask the Hispanic barber and he does not want to speak your blistering white language on his pink tongue and you ask the Arabic teacher and he is afraid to answer because you wear a red hat. You ask every spectrum and color of the rainbow until the world is a searing maelstrom of every color and every pink, gooey tongue and every shade but black, until you return to the wall and patiently stare.

Then, you ask the wall. You open your mouth and speak.

“Why wall,” You say in a frantic manner. “Why are you joints connected and your foots in mouthes and your heels pressed to throat with the aggression of a boot, or a hammer or a world-smashing, all-ending fist of iron?”

The wall speaks in a powerful manner, in a warm tone that sounds like your father who abandoned, and the mother who sacrificed and the sister went ignored and the brother who protested nothing. “It is because, we cannot untangle from ourselves.”

Rose Thorn

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By: Steven Underwood

A Poem on betrayal and endings.

***

I loved my brother more than me

And with this love he stole from me;

I loved my mother more than god

And she owned my life with a broken rod;

I chose my love with catered rose

But lost my love in bitter throws;

Heart so pure once filled with error

I fixed the crack with twisted terror.

 

I hated my brother more than I

And blackened my heart with anger’s dye;

I resented my mama with acid ire

And chose only dark desire.

I buried my lovely with withered rose

And forgot her love beneath my toes;

Heart so black filled with pain

For a new world I wish to gain.

 

Friend(ship)

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By: Steven Underwood

A Poem on failed relationships.

***

If I ever regretted the first bump

On the bus between me and you,

I do now.

We once stood on the same road

That now converges

Across the ebb and flow of time and

I don’t know when did the stake

Wedge us apart.

I found solace in the pain

That you inflicted

With silence,

With ignorance

With treatment

And

Mistreatment

The duality of your sins.

I told myself love, platonic or romantic,

Hurts.

I cast myself in the play

I participated in that narrative.

It killed me.

But, I learned our lives were sometimes,

Like the phoenix,

Ever-rising.

I fooled myself into that narrative.

Little did I know that

My fire was not infinite.

My heat would cool.

I can no longer suffer the agony and so I

Sing to the Baptist choir a salvation,

Or, at least, I hope I do.

 

Do you know that in some parts we are infamous?

We writhe and twist and bite and snarl and snap and break and scream and shout and banter and bark and hurt and hurt and hurt,

But when does it end?

When do we stop being the villains of a narrative, of a song, of a poem, of a world that is not our own?

Can we cease and desist?

Just seek to be friends?

Amicable in the silence?

Okay with just what is already there?

I think we could.

I just want you to talk to me.

I don’t like the silence.

In the silence, I feel like I am shattering and breaking.

I think about the absence in darkness, the liquor of the mind —

I feel my chest quake –

I feel warm wetness across my eyes –

I think mine eyes leak and drip and dribble and steam –

I don’t like this feeling, this silence is too loud –

I just want you to talk to me –

I just want to know that it’s okay.

You’re my best friend, and I’m yours –

I signed my name in self-drawn blood across the dotted lines of contract:

to be your shield –

to always be your shield.

So please, obey the terms and conditions and talk to me!

No one else gets it!

You do, so open your mouth and speak the aria and keep the moths in,

because I know, that sometimes, when you speak death escapes your lips and condemns me!

I only just wanted you to talk to me.

To care about me.

To be my friend,

Because I never knew I could have one.

Because I was neglected.

Because I was abused

Because I’ve lived in my kin’s shadows

Because you stand out while even in shadows

Because when I met you, I captured just a little of that light and turned it into my might and sat on a throne and knew I could shatter bone.

You’re my friend, I know you are.

I just –

I figured –

I always thought you would show me you were my friend.

Instead your silent.

Instead your mean.

Instead you justify your cruelty

Instead I’m second fiddle.

Instead, you don’t like to speak to me.

You treat me different.

You  are disgusted by my presence.

You think I’m emotional.

You say I’m superficial.

You called me a charity case.

You treated me like I was the nail and you were the hammer

Always smashing my back down when I Stood out.

Making sure I was stuck in one place, and could never grow.

Instead, you never supported me.

Never opened my books, read my words, spoke of me when I was ignored.

Instead you told him it was okay to hate me for being born a way.

You said my fire was a figment of my imagination.

That the burning light was your reflection standing beside me.

You hypocrite

You liar.

You monster.

Have you ever felt emotion?

Have you ever cared for someone when they didn’t worship you?

Do you only care when you’re on top?

Because you lash out when others do better than you.

Because you spit on those beneath you.

Because you manipulate those who love you.

I think I hate you.

I think somewhere deep down I hate you.

I hurts my heart, but I do.

I resent you.

I hate that you are not supposed to be anything to me.

That I shouldn’t care.

But I do.

And I hate you more fr it.

Because This hate could be love.

It could be our brotherhood.

It could be us against the world,

Side-by-side,

But it won’t happen.

Because you’re so silent!

Well, here is me:

being silent too.

Black Cat Blues

Art, Non-Fiction, Poetry

 

A Poem for the first day of Black History Month.

by Steven Underwood

 

***

The Black Graymalkin is never free;

Though liberated in city it appears to be;

Its leash, like thread, vanish in the eye;

But still held in chains till feline die.

 

Onyx Graymalkin, your roar is low,

If you are to speak, who would know?

Dense Graymalkin, you are meek,

Though your pelt is velvet, sleek.

Observant Graymalkin, you lurk in shade,

You hide from the daylight that whiteness made.

 

Black Graymalkin, are you me?

How cruel a society do you flee?

From whose ebony Pride are you bred?

From what dark skin do you shed?

 

Toil, Graymalkin, they will fear;

No love for loved ones you hold dear.

This world is black, dark like pitch;

And from your trouble this land grow rich.

Flee, Graymalkin, don’t you stray;

The present is black because you’re black all day.

 

We the People in a Less Perfect Union

Art, Articles, Culture, Non-Fiction, Poetry

Sometimes, it’s better to look at the world through poetry until it starts to make a lick of sense.

***

On Monday, he wasn’t our president, and we celebrated the legacy of a man with as many faults as he had virtues. The skies held their breath, and a world of bright blue became bleak and cried. We remembered how we love the rain, but this was different.

Together, We investigated the landscape of the world. We judged the people of the time: for treating people like cattle, for their shameful attitudes, for their racism. We couldn’t see how these people, relatives, and friends to many of us, couldn’t see what was going on in front of them. That same day, we ignored many obvious clues that history was licking its fingertips and turning a few pages backward in its book just for emphasis.

On Tuesday, We pressed our thumbs to small digital boxes and opened Twitter. We discussed “Dr. King’s Dream,” and judged the black community according to it. Are we honoring him when we kneel during a pledge of allegiance? Is calling a white person racist acting in his image? Dr. King’s progeny got into the tabloids and said Dr. King would’ve liked Donald Trump. Our world cracked at the seams.

On Wednesday, We steeled ourselves for the worse, and found that our best metals were but rust: we would lose Barrack Obama. The skies remained gray, but the winds whipped with a sheering coldness. Tempers were high, and we fought each other. We lashed out, without really knowing what we were lashing out f. Anger for anger’s sake, a test of those chains we swore would remain. Both to unite us, and to shackle our ambitions.

On Thursday, We maintained the song of Monday. Dr. King’s progeny’s comments sang again. I stare blankly at the screen for a moment. This is someone who knew him best, isn’t it? I re-read a line by Fredrick Douglas, and I make us remember.
“Power concedes nothing without a Demand…It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows or with both. “
I take to this new world of zeroes and ones, and I make a declarative. “If we are to believe MLK would’ve supported Trump, then maybe MLK isn’t the person we should look up to?”
Few comment. Many have a feeling. The words hang in the air.
On Friday, the sky wept upon his head. Orange flushes down his face and drips onto the American soil beneath his feet. The brown in the soil becomes stained in chemical lies. We shake our hands and test these chains. We meditate on what others have decided for us. We ask ourselves how people could be so ignorant. We judge the people for many things: for their racism, for their bigotry, for their sexism, for their phobias.
History hasn’t turned her page.
The page becomes wet and the ink runs down the page. Our name runs with it. These symbols hold no more meaning.
On Saturday, we ask ourselves if we can be united when these important things have no more meaning.