Poems

Know That You Have Been Loved
(For Mom, Rhonda Lacy Smith)

Sweet precious child in my arms
I’ll sway you into sleep.
Your breath so lightly
on my heart,
Makes this life complete.

Small wondering one running through the grass,
I’ll try to guide your step.
Life’s little questions on your lips,
Shows me how I’ve been blessed.

So I tell you from the very start you have been given love.

I stored into your mind a love for beautiful things.
You gave me pride and joy,
I reluctantly gave you wings.

Sweet growing seed, open up and see
what life’s all about.
When you feel pressed from all around,
Let God’s wisdom be your way out.

Oh my dear, from the beginning
I have taught you love.

When you had your own children
be them boys or girls,
My smile was surely the biggest one
welcoming them to this world.

I celebrated your first gray hair,
which to me meant you finally gained
a strength and courage to call your own.
Through the years, one thing hasn’t changed.

“Well,
I hope that by now honey you have seen
love in action.”

Now the scene is turned around
in your rocking arms I rest.
Run your fingers through these soft, white hairs
and my smile will tell you
“Yes, oh sweet baby of mine,
know that you have been loved.”

Naked

What if you and I
Stood here
and peeled off the layers,
The fashion, features and flesh
that make our vision hazy?

Stood here
and stripped all the way down
to our bones.

Would you still
fill me with stories when I’m empty,
shelter me like a special hiding place,
see me as a beautiful thing…

Or would you just see
how skinny and white
I was?

A Scholar’s OCD #2

You have to have OCD to be a scholar
because scholars will spend hours and weeks making sure that

The formatting is as it should be.
The font type is embeddable and readable.
The margins are customized and mirrored.
The argument is valid.
The research is an accurate ^a respectable reflection of reality.

You have to have OCD to be a scholar
because only scholars will say that dead writers are their conversation partners,
yet be afraid to talk to their ancestors.

You have to have OCD to be a scholar
because scholars make sure that

↔ every citation is reviewed,
↔ every footnote follows its citation style,
↔ every quote is verified by page number from its source text.

Work with precision, work for perfection,
everything must be of order.

Go back.
Go back through it again.
After that, go back through it again.
Get rid of that extra space.
Get rid of that dangling participle.
Get rid of that first person and the brackets that separate
[your life] from {your work}.

Bury your loathing of a certain scholar’s words, ideology, and arrogance.
Bury your critical questions. Write and turn in your paper.

So, you really buried those questions?
Now after you pass the class, go back and resurrect them.
Deconstruct all those wack arguments for yourself,
not only for your sanity,
for your future students too.

Challenge it because nobody needs to internalize some of the
sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant bull$#!+
that has been canonized in the name of Western scholarship
without having it be exposed
for the lie that it is.

Work with precision, work for perfection,
everything must be of order.