Category: memories

Smoky Lounges + Adulthood Depression

There’s this hookah bar downtown.

A neon painting with a half-painted face becomes the backdrop to any angst rock start-up group. You know, a few guys early to late twenties sing covers of Aerosmith and Nirvana. If you visit the lounge enough, you’ll expect to see them. Torn jeans with knees jutting out, and a flannel over a band t-shirt.

At times, the hookah bar swallows the poet sitting on top of the bar stool. In front, a young woman with a slim build scrolled through her poem on her i-phone. Behind the sheet music stand, she gave us the pain of who she lost and the glimpse of the fantastical forest creature in front. Other times, a boisterous comedian might quip a few good one-liners but might bargain a shitty basement-level joke.

Nonetheless, I weld myself there. I pour myself into the smoky haze floating as Dr. Seuss clouds above everyone’s heads. Once, I saw a drunk man befriend anyone he hadn’t seen before. Another time, there was a beautiful woman with two Afro buns on either side of her head, a man who sang about bath salts, and a bar host who gave my friends and I red roses.

I’m not quite sure how an atmosphere can assure you. For me, I wasn’t supposed to be in a place like that – the way I was raised. Yet, at the end of the hookah hose – I puffed a thought or two. Besides I didn’t have to get life “right” every minute.


Inherited sorrow

Grandmother died,

With her daughter

Tucked into the folds of her skin

Creating pouches of fat by her middle.

Head, propped up by a pillow,

Her jaws relaxed and slacked down.

I imagine her dark brown eyes,

Searching my mother’s face

In a sea of stories

Still hanging in the air.

Laid, a blanket hugging her frame,

She was the size of thumbelina.

Two thin braided plaits,

Laced with silver tinsel- gleaning.

I imagine her soul,

Roaming the forest of Mississippi,

Visiting the trees

Outside the plantation.

She’ll trace her hands on

The old mobile home of my mother’s house.

Windows with splintered paint,

My grandmother crawls in their sealant.

She died,

And came into my mother’s home

Still illuminating in her

Like the safety light on top of the stove.

She died,

And came in between my mother’s teeth

When the years had worn her season to season.

The house

My…haven’t you’ve grown.

I stood there in the doorframe, wondering if I should enter this house or not. The smell was still there. Oatmeal and my father’s musk settled on each couch cushion, traveled up the flight of stairs and nestled into the reading chair next to the window. A lot of times when you go home, you notice the things that have always been there but now they are distinct. The way the floor creaks outside of the bathroom. The way you can hear the pipes running from the downstairs kitchen sink, all the way to the walls of your room.
I like to think home never changes, and sometimes I tell lies saying that it hasn’t.
During summer, my mother used to open the small window in our cramped  kitchen. The tiny embroidered (and thrifted) curtains blew in and out with the wind. When I was about nine years old, I knew my mother had just made blueberry pie or lemon cake. The scent would travel down the porch steps and settle right in front of our house. The neighborhood kids knew when she made desserts too.
“Oh, Miss. You’re so nice and beautiful,” one of the kids said while twisting their waist side to side. With their hands clasped together, one foot making a circle on the floor, each kid knew how to ask for a slice of what My mother made.
My mother would offer them a nice sized slice and a glass of milk. My mother made sure if you asked, you would sit at the table – properly.

One day I’ll write another piece to hook on to Repercussions of Loving Too Deep.

Forever ago

Past the double doors,
I skirted around the issue,
And tip – toed past the words themselves.
I ought to know now that it’s meaningless.
Though, my heart could in fact rehash old sins,
I chose to look back fondly that our years were not perfect but well.
Well enough,
That a smile sneaks it’s way over
And spreads across my face.
The scent of September lingers.
My mother wears her jean dress with the brown leather belt.
She flings open all of the windows
And each curtain can no longer hold back the shimmering sunshine.
Past the skinny streets and junk cars,
My friend and I imagined that this world was not ours.
Kneeling down and poking at the plants that grew between sidewalk cracks,
Time had eluded me.
How strange that the past itself was not horrifying – always…
Past the double doors,
I smiled faintly at the past
But kept walking on…

Where’s the remote control on life?

With a tug at my skirt, my hands carelessly fluttered to make sure each part of me was immaculate. I took into consideration that nothing could be out of place. Readjusting the hair behind my ear for the sixth time, I relaxed my shoulders. All the clenched muscles had gone back to their regular pose and my butterflies ceased their calamity.
With my head held down my eyes darted from; floors to chairs, my hands to my phone, and then to the various people around the room. The walls appeared to cave in and the tables too were closer now.
How had this began?
A desire embedded itself and began excavating the many cautionary parts of my heart. I had not wanted to plummet through the air as an asteroid determining that earth can be a new home. I had taken steps to be distant and close the door on my way out
It’s latch was suppose to catch the lock. Up and down the aisles, I fought with not only myself but the deceitfulness that had brought me here. The frigid waves rode up from the sea and carried me as lifeless as Ophelia. I came floating through the times of the past. Those who had pricked my fingers for a sign of sacrifice would be in for a rude awakening.
Time has ran circles around me. I was not suppose to bring up the scent of his cologne sauntering around me. No, his voice should be foreign now (pun intended). I had urged myself to completely submit to change and ride it’s coattails. With an adjustment of my sweatshirt, I took a deep sigh and
thought perhaps my past would never explain this madness.

Picking the mold off of fruit

My mother tells me not to settle in my weariness. She guides me to her memories from another time. The trees aligned on each side of the street began to fade. The whirring of the tires softly diminishes and we come to the land she calls home.
“Do not make entrances to your homes that are like gates keeping you out of life. No, go where the break in the fence is and dig a hole. Climb underneath this chain-link with your scratches and make homes wherever you go.”
I find the moment comforting so I speak of nothing but “Yes, of course.”
The day is sweltering with heat. A man forgets to signal that he would like to change lanes. Instead, he speeds through the bottleneck of the road – now merging ahead.
I think of many times when my mother speaks. How carefully her words don’t fail her…how they bring her where she is now.
“You must make the best out of life. Let nothing hold you back. I had to leave home to find who I was. I went to school seven years straight once I left my hometown.”
We talk of learning and books. We talk about learning that’s much larger than reading books. That with our sorrows many, we learn to scrub at our cuts and bandage ourselves.
The traffic is light. People walk to and from the fish market, nestled in a residential area. In between the cars, people skateboard and cross the street. I like to remember these individuals in particular as fearless. Yet, their day to day are like the rest. One cannot stop out of fear forever. So we cross our hurdles in the midst of utter chaos.
My mother calls upon me to let go of fear and push against it. I must aggressively pick up my own sword to cut through the vines now tangling around my ankles.
Some days, my mother takes me home where the streetlight beams faintly in the night. It is a place where I learn to come home to myself instead of just visiting hours.

Kiss the back of your hands

Wading through the stalks of grass,
I arrived to the place,
Where I swore to never return.
Meeting you where the horizon blurs,
The sun and I,
Would sit for hours,
Eating oranges, grapes and pomegranates,
Waiting for our time to come.
Let us hash out,
Why one decided to live without the other,
Let me give you the fruit I’ve picked.
Come and sit,
Choosing your delicacies,
Ones we’ve waited a long time to eat.
The sun and I,
Sat until royal blue, satin curtains
Brushed across the sky.
My past self,
I am learning what it means to love now.