Obey

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“Obey”

she says and

with

furrowed brow

scolding the woman who birthed her

“OBEY”

force flows from

pursed lips

hands braced on hips

makes it known

that this is no laughing matter

“O-BEY!”

screeching command

stops one in one’s tracks

hearing the crack of

Catholic school marm

rulers on desks

and

fearing the feeling

of wood cracking

across flesh,

you pause.

Knowing that

not listening will

lead to a lesson

missed

education system

between mother and child

one of mutual respect

she expects to be heard…

within reason…

And today

she is not being unreasonable.

© Joi Miner

Now We Are Truly Sisters

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For all of my beloved single mothers

 

I remember leapfrog and jump rope in Elementary.

I remember when being smart made you popular instead of being pretty.

When mess was something you made on the floor with crayons and coloring books.

 

Some days I reminisce and laugh out loud about how important it was that you not be seen in the mall with your parents.

 

Things seem so different now.

 

As I wrap my arms around you and our protruding bellies collide. Mine from drinking too much of that libation they call family. Yours from swallowing too many of those magic beans fabled to turn into love. They bean stalked in your womb.

 

And we are truly sisters now.

 

As we both hear the song of you’re too young and are shame-faced because we love the fathers of our children.

Yes, we are truly sisters now.

 

As we share a pair of sleepless night baggied eyes but smile and all the while rhapsodize about the joys of motherhood.

 

We are truly sisters now.

 

As our once happy breasts begin to cry every time our dependent daughters empty them of sustenance.

 

And in a few years we’ll be too old to remember and too young to forget the times when we held parties that adults attended.

 

In a few years we’ll be set in our careers and tomorrow will be the same as today.

 

And we’ll be sisters then.

 

Discussing honor roll and curfew and car notes. Exchanging Christmas cards with tears in our eyes.

 

We’ll be sisters when…

 

We both look back and cry because we were too young for our lives to have ended this way.

 

And on our daughters’ wedding days we’ll scream the same lyrics our mothers did at the top of our lungs as we give them away…

 

To live with dirty diapers, bills to pay, a husband, laundry piled up for days.

 

And we’ll be sisters once again, when we embrace them, wipe their tears away, and quietly wonder but never say:

 

WHAT THE HELL WERE WE THINKING?!

© Joi Miner

Audrey II

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Nothing more than a

project to be dissected

with clumsy hand and scalpel

slicing through delicate parts

in search of woman he desired

underdeveloped and in need of nurturing.

The she that he wishes her to be withers

in the hours, days, weeks

that love, affection, attention wanes…

Slow emerging she lay decrepit and disfigured

in an open womb of once shelled self

he knew not that the shell provided shelter

and he says this her fault be

if she had spelled upon the shell

“Do not open woman under construction!!!”

Maybe he would have left her to become

the beauty within his mind seen…

Alas her lack of preparation

led to misdirected motivation

and the cracking of her shield

pre-maturation…

She remains

forced to fend for self in regards to cultivation

reverting to the stares of perverts for validation

proper progression diverted

she becomes more and more being he wishes not to see

more and more creature despised within the eyes

of her love

due to passion deficiency

starving

wilting

leaves browned roots showing from lack of

watery kisses

and tending

forced to die in a pot of

imitation fertilized fondness

left out on the porch in the cold

with only the wind’s caress to substitute tenderness…

Though she must confess her doubt

in the fact that

if she had bloomed

he would have even noticed…

© Joi Miner

First Friday Fix: Lucy Williams

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Good friends are hard to come by. Loyalty is a foreign concept nowadays. People are only out for themselves. So when you find one that will ride or die with you, stick with you through thick and thin, and check you when you aren’t on your shit, you better hold onto em! ~Bonnie Jones

Bonnie’s friend for over a decade, she has watched her make some dumb ass decisions. She watched her suffer through terrible relationships with men and overcome sexual assault more times than any human being should ever have to. Now, after getting a divorce from that asshole she never should have married in the first place, Lucy is watching her friend have to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, with Tzionne in tow. As a good friend, Lucy doesn’t say much to Bonnie about how she is choosing to deal with her pain, even though she doesn’t completely agree with any of it. All she can do is offer an ear, a shoulder, and keep her friend from getting too far gone. But, after a night out on the town with Bonnie, and an unwise decision of her own, Lucy needs her friend to pull it together because now, she needs a shoulder.

How The Other Half Lives

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We spend our days basking in the lives of past loves that beat our nerves numb and warm us with memories while floating in a whirlpool of presence. Our skin has wrinkled.

We eulogize them, upon the occasion that one of our nerve endings springs back to life like a band then pops, a momentary spasm of feelings. Writing only in reminiscence of previous impressions.

 

We envy the lives of the vibrant ones who dive into waters cold and un-chartered. They must feel no pain. No fear. Eyes red from swimming in the depths of life. Flesh full of color.

They swim together in schools. Diving in and out in unison, pulling the strays back into place. Some leaving and returning. Others never leaving at all.

We wish for such unity. Passion. To swallow life in whole gulps unafraid of what may be floating in the water.

 

Ignorance is the barrier that colors our glasses rosy when looking into another’s world with envy.

 

We swim for fear of drowning. Dive for fear of suffocating. Wear our vibrancy proudly because our reef is all we own. We have watched loved ones dive too deep and explode. We must swallow parts of them to keep breathing.

Our scales damnation into the pool of the dead. We do not shed tears. Do not look backwards. Keep close to the pack or suffer the chance of being eaten alive. We have no choice but to feel. Everything and all the time.

Our nerves nuisances that will not rest.

 

We long for moments where we can hold our heads above water to see a true image of the sky. We would eagerly drink them in, allowing the memories to fill our cravings for more.

The ability to relax our fins in water that swirls, not having to swim for a living. We would not simply write, but etch them into our flesh.

Tiny carvings we could run our fingers over on occasion.

 

Ignorance is the barrier that colors our glasses rosy when looking into another’s world with envy.

© Joi Miner

She Dreamed in Color

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She sang in Harlem

Renaissanced with the greats

Smuggled espionage for countries

Whose accent made her name beautiful

She created a world

Inside a world where hatred ran rampant

And ignorance stood on street corners

Harassing the innocent

She taught acceptance

In her home

Blushing babies of every hue bonded by love

In her song

Melodious notes cloaking consciousness gray

In her dance

Beating drum steps stopped heartbeats in elegance

In her life

Graceful gaits bringing the wind into her swagger

She made the world colorblind

© Joi Miner