Chocolate Gold

Chocolate Gold

Her skin is beyond Ghiradelli grade.
The highest quality cocoa made in a demanding market, one that prides itself on confectionary.

She must be acknowledged.

Such color forged on a continent with an embarrassment of riches regarding complexion, yet a rarity she remains. 

A continent crowded with resources and still she shines through.

Like chocolate gold. 

Her value exceeds the flesh easily.

Her intellect leaves her uninhibited with unrelenting ambition, just like her ancestors. 

Ancestors that built empires of unmatched wealth then had unparalleled democracy built on their backs. 

It is a blessing and a burden, all the while amazing.

She, in her scintillating shades, has not just defied the statistics:

She has restructured them. 

She is the most educated of the American people after having the least opportunity for the longest time.

She didn’t complain but labored gracefully;

Exchanging battered mistress for a bachelor’s.

Switching maids and mammys to a master’s.

Trading crack depictions for a doctorate. 

This desire must be admired. She is demanding change by making it. Not asking for success but taking it.

Never focused on accomplishments but on what has not been won.

Although if today she declared herself done, her blueprint is bestowed upon her brother, sister, daughter, and son.

They would all do well to engulf themselves in her element. 

I am not American

I am not American

I am not American.

Don’t be fooled by my passport. Don’t be swayed by my birth certificate.

These papers are political and politics is made by people.

I am not American. 

My language is the evidence. I speak the tongue of a land I’ve never been to, of shores I’ve never seen.

Do the French speak Chinese? Do the Portuguese know Russian?

What most would find a frivolous discussion is my reality.

I am not American. 

Why else would my countrymen make up words to punctuate my difference?

Nehgra. Nigger. Negro. Nigga. African American. I’ve never been any of that.

I’ve only ever been Cameroonian and Congolese. Togolese and Ivorian. Ghanaian and Beninese. Malien and Senegalese. Even a slice of Scandinavian.

The DNA does not lie.

My countrymen either lied about who I am or told the truth about what they thought of me. 

I am not American.

I have fought and died for this country as property. I have fought and died for this country with second-class status. 

I have represented this country in competition at the highest levels from Olympic races to the Presidential one.

Through my efforts I have emerged victorious for this country. It still hasn’t been enough to guarantee my equality.

Peeking into a prison proves it.

Checking a college campus confirms my claim. 

Viewing a boardroom makes it plain.

I am not American. Yet an American I remain. 

#ThanksgivingWithBlackFamilies 

#ThanksgivingWithBlackFamilies 

There’s something about fried turkey that we can’t leave alone. 

Carving up the bird till all that’s left is bones. 

I believe there’s magic in the baked Mac and cheese, Grandma’s a sorcerer of sorts. 

True, too, for the collard greens, I can’t help but overload my fork.

Usually, I limit the pork but there’s no denying the way the ham is glazed. 

Some eyes closed while dad prays, others can’t break the gaze. 

Meatballs are magnificent drizzled with terriakyi or BBQ, while the deviled eggs look heavenly and you can’t eat less than two.

The potato salad is picture perfect. The pasta salad too, but the corn pudding drives me crazy.

I told my aunt if you know nothing else, know that.

I thought, I had my overeating under control, but without fail I relapse.

There’s just not enough room on these plates to get everything on the first take.

Stuffed, but I’ll make space for the yams.

The green beans do appease, and gravy must make it in my plans.

When I’m with my country cousins chittlings make a cameo.

When I’m with family out West how the wine does flow. 

The way black folks put it all together it’s like the production of a show. 

I’ll be honest: I’ve done more watching than working in my day.

Anyway, what is dinner without dessert?

Stomachs seem to stretch to fit in the final course.

The spread is simply stupendous, pastries of every size and shape. 

Some prefer the pecan or the pumpkin, but I think sweet potato pie takes the cake.

After all the food you would think we focus on all the extra weight, but we shift focus to Christmas.

A month is all we have to wait.

I’m so thankful for my family.

Tears in the Rain

Tears in the Rain

I see her tears in the rain.

The water falls at the mercy of gravity.

The tears stream from her eyes at the mercy of her pain.

There is little I can do. 

I have no choice but to embrace the weather.

I have chosen to be with this women.

I embrace her as she soaks my shirt.

“This storm will pass baby. Everything will be alright.”

What more can I say?

With even less to do I’m left to wait.

Wait for the sky to close.

Wait for the hurt to purge.

While I wait I lean on faith.

Only hope makes me feel the sun’s rays will burst through the gray clouds.

Hope is the only reason I believe I’ll see her smile again. 

Harsh Januaries Make for Happy Junes

Harsh Januaries Make for Happy Junes

Can you really appreciate a beach’s beauty in summer if you’ve never been in a blizzard
Snowed in yet looking out just to confirm what you already know
That final snow flake symbolizing freedom from the home that feels more jailhouse as the snow accumulates
Stir crazy as Richard and Gene?
Are you as appreciative of the warm sand between your toes if you’ve never laced up your boots and labored to find your footing in the snow
In subfreezing temperatures
Patience for the storm’s end crushed under its precipitation
The biting wind more welcome than your own four walls?
Though the same sun shines on you and the barefoot beach goer, you can’t tell.
But you ignore the lack of warmth because it warms your soul to be out in the open.
Among the ice.
So you breathe the winter air, chilled but fresh
Fueling you through this winter wonderland.
For a little while at least.
Til the chill seeps through your shoes, creeps up your leg and hits the spine.
You find yourself done with fun;hot cocoa pours into your mind.
Possibly whiskey.
Of course there’s more than one way to heat up.
The first step is to make it inside, of the cold you’ve had enough.
Can you be truly grateful for the crystal clear shallows filled with fish floating along
The entertaining seagulls and their most annoying song
The waves that shape the surface and make adults feel like kids at play
And when the sun is beating down, the ocean’s cool escape
If you’ve never shoveled snow from steps, sidewalks and driveways?
While there’s a chance you may
I bet folks with children at home on a snow day would have something to say.