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What Florence Didn’t Know

That all the words in all the worlds
Put down on parchment paper,
Could never take my soldiers place
‘Cause we’re meant to be together.
And beautiful as Florence was
One thing she couldn’t capture
Is the never-ending love song
Between you and me, my savior.

“I would go up…

“I would go up to the gates of hell with a friend,
 Through thick and thin.”
The other said, as he bit off a concha’s end,
“I would go in.”


                           John Earnest McCann




The devil hates

The judgement of the devil in this life is laughter.





Dear boy,
Tell me, am I careless with your heart?
If I untangled my fingers from
Within your fingers
Would it make you fall apart?
Tell me, dear girl
Would it be pretty if I pleased
You momentarily
But then I had to leave?
Love is,

A watchtower.

Are our little lovers flashlights
Probing gently and polite? 




Insert Meaningful Caption Here

Sometimes you get the privilege of hauling out the skeletons in your closet and dumping them in a ditch on the side of the road ten years later when you’ve decided it’s finally time for them to go.
Sometimes you don’t.
Sometimes you’re just hanging out having conversations with yourself and then those sets of words that you’ve so desperately avoided for so long get inserted automatically like a teller machine into your brain and your heart drops and you choke for a second and your system misfires and you’re stuck sitting there with this new and old set of thoughts.

“You’re pathetic.”
“Look at you, you’re getting fat.”
“Thats disgusting. I mean.. seriously, thats disgusting.”
“Do you really think you’re beautiful? What a joke.”

It reminds me of times when I used to practice skipping down the sidewalk on my street as fast as I could, and kept picking up the pace until I was half running/half skipping wildly trying to keep my balance as the pavement got farther away from my tennies and it became a race between my head and my shoes as to which one could keep up before the other faltered and I ended up splattered on the cement between the neighbors 72 Nova and our blue Volkswagon van.
Sometimes you skip too fast and one part of your body can’t keep up with the other and you end up like that.. bam. Face down with one twisted ankle and one more rip in your jeans and you loved the skipping for a minute but now it hurts.
Sometimes you just skip too fast and it all catches up to you.

This is how I feel about anorexia.

I have always said that one doesn’t fight anorexia. One invites it in.
Like the guest at a party that nobody really knows who shows up to the door, best dressed with expensive presents and a bottle of Silver Oak, perfectly parted hair, the sexiest black dress, and a smile that says,

“Honey baby, you can’t be me, but you can try.”

And you say,

“Oh wow. That looks good.”

And in the months to come your new best friend shows up at untimely hours of the day and night with irrational demands that you feel the need to fulfill because damn. ..

She looks good.

And this time you skip down the sidewalk together holding hands but she squeezes really tight and it’s uncomfortable for your fingers and she runs just ever so slightly faster than you so you can’t quite keep up and when you start losing control and you’re wildly skipping and running and the cement gets farther and farther away from your tennies and your brainwaves start firing out warning instructions to slow down because skipping fast comes before a fall and you’re aware of the fact that she runs faster than you but you didn’t think it would be so hard to catch up and then as you start faltering and stumbling you first reaction is to grip her hand tighter but right as the moment arrives where you either catch yourself or hit the pavement you look up with frightened eyes and she’s looking right back at you and instead of pulling you up

she grabs the back of your head and she pushes you down.

And you slam right into the unforgiving ground, face first and skid awkwardly to a halt, where you lie for a while, a little bloody, and little shredded, a little this or that.

And you just lie there, disoriented, staring at the clouds making shapes above you.
And then you hear, very close next to you, very close in your ear,

“Come on sweetie. I know you can skip faster than that.”



Mad Girl’s Love Song: A Villanelle

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name. 
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Sylvia Plath 1954Image


This story is not about me. Its about being broken. And its not just a story, its entirely true, because it happened today on the Blue Line Metro Rail. 
It went like this.

I scored a lucky spot in a crowded cable car; smelled like sweat and booze and everyone was wearing green. Two black girls sat down behind me, and one next to me. A young black man stood next to them. We were about 15 minutes into the ride when the conversation started.
“You been to jail?” asked one of the girls behind me to the girl next to me.
“Yeah. Just got out.”
“You workin’ for someone?”
“Yeah. Somethin’ like that.”
“Who’s your pimp?”
“His name C-Ray.”
“Yeah, I hearda’ him.” 
They bantered back and forth for a few moments until the girl behind me stood up.
Suddenly, the young man standing next to them shoved her back down into her seat. “Bitch, I never told you to get up. Sit back down.” She dropped her head and he asked the one sitting next to me if he could get her number. 
“What we gonna talk about if I give it to you?” she asked, giggling.
“We gonna talk about gettin’ you to come work fo’ me. How much you gettin’?”
“I can get up to 4g a night, dependin’ on what you want.”
“How old are you?” He asked.
My stomach tightened. 
“Well I got these two with me, they both sixteen.”
My tongue began to taste sour. Just then, the train stopped at Imperial/Wilmington and another young black man hopped on the bus. As he walked down the aisle I noticed the girl next to me huddle up and drop her head low. He walked straight up to her and grabbed her chin. 
“Where you been. I heard you be workin’ for someone else now.”
Silence. Young man #1 stepped up, hand on his belt buckle. It was then I realized he had something under it. 
“”Scuse me, but I’m speakin’ with this lady and proposin that she come work for me. You know her?”
“Yeah, she used to work for ME.”
I was starting to feel physically sick. The two girls behind me laughed. What was spoken next, I’m not sure, because the two young pimps walked down the aisle and conversed in low tones for a couple minutes. They came back. Some kind of agreement had been made. 
“Looks like you be workin’ for me officially from now on. He okay with it. He got new ones, he say they be good too, don’t need to worry about losin’ one.”
She stayed silent. Part of me still couldn’t believe what was happening. The two men walked back down the aisle and laughed like old friends. The girls behind me started bantering again, giggling and laughing with their new ‘sister.’ I looked at them.
“You don’t have to do this. There are other ways. I can help you. I can find a place for you. I know that sounds stupid but you can get out of this lifestyle. You’re my age- younger. You shouldn’t have to do this. There’s another way, there has to be.”
The conductor spoke over the intercom, “Compton station, next stop.”
They got up to leave. It was only then I noticed the bikini tops, the mini skirt, the bright pink fishnets, the high heels with a broken clasp. I was choking up. They walked off, laughing. 

I wish I had said those things. 
But instead I watched them step onto the platform, like walking up to a guillotine. 
And I never said a word. 

As they disappeared into the bustling crowd outside three police officers came through the door the girls had just exited. They asked to see everyone’s ticket. I fumbled for mine. After walking down the aisle they stopped in front of an old black man, holding his beat up bike. 
“Sir, do you have a ticket?”
Immediately the pocketbooks came out, the bike confiscated, the ticket written, the man ashamed. So intent they were, so obsessed with fulfilling this law, so involved in the most mundane of tasks that they missed (or chose to) what was so obviously more important. 
Did anyone else feel the pain of those girls?
Did anyone else want to be their savior?
Did anyone care?

We are so hell bent in this country on proving who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s left wing and who’s not, who’s beautiful and who deserves to be aborted. We are so obsessed with money, power, fame, price, product, sex, vindication, law, order, scandals, gossip, and perfection that we don’t even know how to function anymore.
I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am not “green.” I am not politically correct. I am not fashionable, rich, or powerful and nor do I care.
But there is one thing that I am.

If being a citizen of the “United States of America” means that I am given a better shot at an education and a future than those 16 year old prostitutes because of my race, my upbringing, my middle class family- then I don’t want to be one. 
Something needs to change. And its not the president. 

Its humanity. 
We need to be broken. 
And we need to be saved. 

Papa and the mocha

The other night I asked my brother if he wanted me to bring him home a drink from starbucks when I got off of work.

“Um, heck yes.”

“Well what do you want?”

“One of those chocolate things.. the ones that have mint and coffee.”

“A mocha?”

“Yeah, one of those.”

This afternoon when I clocked out I made a drink for my brother, and drove home only to find he wasn’t there anyway. I offered it to my mom.

“Whats in it?”

“Its a peppermint mocha. Chocolate, peppermint, a shot of espresso.”

“It has coffee? Its too late in the day, I can’t drink it right now.”

My dad asked me what was in it. I repeated myself.

“Papa, it will kill you. It has milk, chocolate, and coffee, all of which you’re allergic to.”

“Oh. Well go give it to Danielle.”

“Who’s Danielle?”

“Our neighbor.”

“Why the heck would I go walk over there and give it to our neighbor? I didn’t even know her name until you just said it.”

“Because its a way of building relationships.”

I set the mocha down on the coffee table. “Well, I’m not walking over there in the rain just to give Danielle a mocha. I’m taking a nap.”

As I’m changing out of my stale-milk smelling clothes, I hear my father put on his rain jacket.

“Are you going over there?”


Now I felt like crap. I get into bed as the front door opens and I hear the rain pouring outside. A couple minutes later, from my bedroom door I hear my mom chuckling.

“What happened?” I semi-yell from the back of the house.

“He’s coming back… with the mocha.”

My dad walks in the door.

“What happened?” I yell again.

“They weren’t home.”

“Well, nice try anyway…”

I hear the door open again.

“Where are you going this time?”

“I’m going to see if Paul’s home.”

“You’re going to go out again in the rain and walk down the street just to see if Paul’s home so you can give him a tall mocha?!”


I hear the door shut.

A few minutes later my dad returns, cold and wet.

“So what happened?”

“He took a while to answer. I thought he wasn’t home either. Then he answered.”

“What’d he say?”

“He said thanks, I appreciate that. And then he asked about our kitchen.”

My dad changed out of his rain coat, put on his slippers, and continued filing taxes on the computer.

As I lay in bed I realized my father had just taught me a valuable lesson. His selflessness revealed his inner motives- those of love, generosity, and character. That was normal to him. My motives were completely the opposite. There was no way in hell you would get me to walk down the street in the pouring rain after an 8 hour shift just to be nice and give someone a mocha instead of waste it. My dad didn’t think twice.

I thank God for that.