there are so many beautiful, supportive, funny, intelligent, and all around wonderful black women that i am in contact with every day

old friends, new friends, soon to be friends

i’m covered in black girl love

old person: you millenials don’t know how it is, with your cars and taxis… when i was your age i walked to school and everywhere and i liked it

me: i walk 3 miles to work and 3 miles back every day

old person: holy shit excuse me i was wrong

day 167

i have given myself up to
textbook definitions of
heartache and the way restoration
smells like paint the color of day
old bruises;
the way rebuild aches like
runner’s muscles after reaching
gold-plated finish lines.

i am not verb or adjective
left to describe what was (or wasn’t) 
done after the fire was extinguished
with cold sea-salted water and the
never ending countdown of clocks:

another day passing and bleeding halfheartedly
into the next.

i am not a phoenix
nor am I a Venus -
i am not meant to be born again
from ashes
left as sacrifice
on a marbled half-shell.
no - i am left to show
ruddy skin and dank eyes
and the way bodies change under 
stress never tasted –
the way i forget to eat until my clothes
become trash bags to bury myself;
the way i drink until
rooms spin faster than the world ever will.

i’ve counted 166 days of trying to soothe
with nothing like aloe gel -
166 days of barely floating 
          (a ghost)
through things that need to get done -
166 days of working
166 days of drinking
166 days of smoking
166 days of merely surviving —-

and everyone insists that
i am not textbook verb or adjective
that i am not phoenix or Venus
but i am my choice of
ruddy skin and dank eyes
a show working toward sore muscles
and bruises painted