Take Your Pick

Now that I have your attention

pay attention to what’s going to happen

listen as the clock ticks your life away

fill your cup with your ego and drink it down in one gulp

sit your fat behind before being asked

and watch the master of ceremonies

give you the seat next to the men’s toilet

count the dollar bills that take bits of you with every cent

fall hard and laugh hard at yourself

show me your guilt and i will show you mine

let’s compare and see which one is bigger

mock the past and believe in your future

better men have fallen

worse men have risen

make this moment count

sip some tea and exhale

take a bath and make bubbles

stand naked under the rain

write a love letter to your haters

create some distance with your lovers

fight the good fight

let your faith be a shield

the word of God your sword

be polite and open the door

but don’t let strangers in

don’t let children’s innocence fool you

they can be little devils at times

when they are not sweet little angels

you are the only one crying at birth

and the only one laughing at death

in this life there isn’t enough space for everyone

a sacrifice must be made to the gods

they take cash, visa, checks and blood

there’s only so much you can get away with

when your time is up

just take it like a man

or a woman take your pick.


Patient Uncaring Attendant

Patient Care Attendant 2:

The calling center that looked like a fax machine showed 4 rooms were calling at once, I quietly kept flipping the newspaper while exchanging a dead stare with the Unit Coordinator as to who will answer it. We were sizing each other up like two wannabes cowboys in a bad Western movie. I picked up the receiver and she returned to her screen with the hint of a triumphant smile hovering at the corner of her mouth. “This is Jose, How can I be of service?” “ I want my C.N.A. now!” “Ok, will be right there” I have been warned about room 14, for some reasons, most of the annoying patients have always managed to find themselves at the end of the hall. “yes, sir, how can I help you?” “ I been calling for the last fifteen minutes, and no one has come.” “Sorry we’ve been busy lately.” And to myself “busy trying to stay away from you”. Queen of England as we called him pointed his trembling, bony and pale finger to the water bottle and said: “it’s gotten warm and I want it cold, would you please get me some fresh water?” he put the polite words like the jacket given to the stubborn child by her caring mother. “Tell my nurse that I need pain pills” “Sure” to myself “and some sleeping pills while she’s at it.” I went ahead and passed the message and went on to provide service all around.

I asked myself what happened to Smiley Jose? I wasn’t always like this. There was a time when the call to serve rang high and strong in my chest and made me punctual and diligent. There was a time where I only remembered those patients who had a gratifying look or gesture rather than those who took me for granted.  I remembered when I cared more about patient’s safety and comfort to the sacrifice of my own. There was a time where this wasn’t just another paycheck but a life experience where human contact made a difference. Now I feel myself heavier and heavier as the time to go to work comes closer and closer and once I get there, I feel like the mouse spinning the wheel in a mad scientist lab. Now I stare at the clock trying to increase its speed with my mind. Now I want to hunt down whoever has ever said to be in the moment. Now I want to come to work to watch TV, read a book, and to not be asked to do anything. Just like at home. No wonder sometimes some of these nurses remind me of my mother!!!

I don’t know how long I been standing there standing while the patient been telling he’s done in the bathroom. I quickly apologized and helped him get back in bed.

As I left, I started reediting for the millionth time my letter of resignation. For now I just prayed that if I ever end in a hospital, I hope my caregivers have more heart than I do.

Closer and Darker

I want to speak of love in unseen gestures and unheard sounds

i want to write a sweet melody to my sweet lady

I want to stretch the land and include the no man’s land

I want to follow the path of the eagle

rising higher and higher

I want to dance life away and whisk death away

I want to be good but I do bad

I want what you want only when you want it

I want to break the mold and make my enemies fold

I want to pull the sun closer and make the rest of the world darker

I want my home in your heart for no thief to break in

I want to walk in the air to meet Jesus

I want to fly under the sea like the dragonfly

I want to give Atlas a rest and carry the world on my shoulders

I want my eyes milky and my look darky

I want empty skies but plenty ties

I want friendly looks but thrilling books

don’t misunderstand me

when you don’t know me

and I don’t know me

No matter how low you think of me

it’s not just about me

even though I wish it was all about me

but forget you and me

and let us have a toss to all the Mini Me and Biggie me out there!!!

A ma mere and for all african women

The first poem is mine and the second one is a translation of Camara Laye’s poem: “A Ma Mere”

Education of An African Woman

I am an African Woman

Cradled at birth by rough yet motherly hands,

I was sunbathed and suncolored

from sweet brown to dark chocolate

I am African woman,

full lips, full hips, gazelle eyes, killer smile

they asked if God took special interest in making me

but I laugh and say

I got it from my mama

I learned it from my mama

To bend one knee and hold my saluting arm

I learned from my mama

to lower my eyes, bat my

eyebrows when the lover’s eye fall on me

I learned to work from sunrise to sundown

to sweep, clean and cook

to sweep, clean and cook

to sweep, clean and cook

to work on the field  and on school papers

I learned from my mama to carry your baby on your back

and hope in return they will carry you on their back

I didn’t learn from my mama that no one will see my worth

unless they get hit by lightning

but I did learn from my mama

beauty is a curse

and my enemies will think me a witch

beauty is a prize

and men drop their lower lips when I walk by

beauty is a flower

but I wanted it to be eternal

when I was young

my brother thought he was better than me

when I got married

my husband thought he was better than me

when I had a boy

my son thought he was better than me

9 months to carry men

a lifetime to be despised by them

but once in a while you see a young man lift the veil

and claim that woman are not for sale.

Black woman, African woman, O my mother I think of you …

Daman O, O my mother, you who
carried me on the back, you who fed me,
You who govern my first steps,
you who first opened my eyes
the wonders of the earth, I think of you …

Woman in the fields, rivers woman, wife of the great river,
O thou, my mother, I think of you …

Daman O thou, O my mother, you who
wiped my tears, you who makes
 the heart rejoice, you who
patiently endured my quirks,
I would still like to be near you, being a child near you …

O Daman, Daman of the great
family of blacksmiths, my thoughts
always turn to you, yours
at every step with me, O
Daman, my mother, as I
still be in your warmth, be
child close to you …

Black woman, African woman, O
you, my mother, thank you, thank you for everything
what you did for me, your son, if
away, so close to you!


Loose it or Lose it

I hear a scratch

and I know I got a catch

it’s when they beat you into political submission

and you lost your temper during peaceful demonstrations

that you start questioning the laws of financial gravity

and changing verbosity into activity

there is no such thing as safety

since everyone is losing mental stability

I can assure you there is nothing to see

turn off the tv and climb on  mountain to see

if the stars are really gone

and there will be no one to pick up the phone

no ambulance, no cop, no army

and you can’t tell a friend from an enemy

no more need to prove you wrong

when I can just play my song

follow my star they say

even if I don’t have a star per say

I will walk to the beat of my own drum

like the lonely cowboy who rides into the sun

no more need to keep score

when everything about this world is sore

you can’t wait for the last day of judgment

to start making life’s adjustments

even as the world comes to an end

take some time off to visit a friend

tell him the story of how the world begins

when life was the only gain

and mystery kept knowledge in a safe place

and now you have learned to let go of knowledge to find your place.