One Hungry Mama

One hungry mama searches for food to feed her llama

One hungry mama doesn’t want to stir up drama

One hungry mama is well acquainted with the inverse relationship between generosity and riches

One hungry mama provides an elite service for the rich, but without pay

Don’t they know that everyday I work without pay, I drain what I have saved?

They know that I have my first baby on the way, they comment on my belly sway

For all their learnedness, don’t they know how to treat a human decently?

For all their pretending to care, don’t they care at all?

Every lowly job I worked before this one paid me in some way, even when I was being trained

One hungry mama couldn’t help but wonder if she might get paid if she wasn’t pregnant, or if she were a man

Avoiding paying me while working just to avoid paying me while I’m on maternity leave is a double-dick move, she couldn’t help but feel

One hungry mama has needs that are real

I don’t need much, but I need something to keep my family financially afloat

My man works, but he doesn’t save or provide for his family

Money drains out of his hands faster than it comes in, that is the way it has always been- he gives hefty donations each week to the church and those who ask him for help

Yet when I ask him how our own family will survive, he simply says, ‘God will provide’

I love him anyway, as irate as it makes me to witness his lifelong commitment to impoverishing himself unnecessarily

One hungry mama doesn’t know what to do, torn between the ideal of the quality of work she wants to deliver and the real quantity of money she needs to feel respected and to survive in this modern life

One hungry mama has trouble sleeping at night

Pressure piles on her, she is fixing to pop

One hungry mama wonders when her hunger will stop

One hungry mama considers taking on another job, even though her time and energy it will rob, even though the work is taxing and without break

One hungry mama waits for the light of day

Invisible

I grew up in invisible poverty

Not in a city housing project, but surrounded by trees- keepers of my sanity

Unfortunately, I didn’t cling tight to that original green

I left the nature that uplifted me to get swallowed by the big city

I did hard time in the belly of that proverbial whale

I was a natural at drinking at bars and hitching rides from strangers in cars

I ran as fast as I could in the workaholic race without stopping to realize that I was headed away from that which my heart truly desired- tranquility and peace

I recreated the high stress of my childhood without seeing my own role in the process

Perhaps the cycle of trauma is not fully broken, yet I am breaking free

The chains that bind me are invisible, yet I feel them loosen and weaken

I get stronger every day

Now

I used to run with the boys

I was determined to prove that I had the biggest balls, that I could withstand it all

Until I couldn’t stand how near death my own ego brought me

When men bought me

I thought I was clawing my way out of poverty

But no amount of money can undo the trauma I endured

All I can do is rewire my brain

Write my story to have a happy ending

Starting with a happy now

I outran the boys and became a rich man so that I didn’t have to marry a rich man

Now I am happily married to the man of my dreams

I don’t ruffle my feathers over the penis-size competition at work- the self-stroking of egos which is habitual amongst my male colleagues

Though I am attracted to women, I’ve never had a penis

I’m ok with that- at least I’ve never raped anyone, never left anyone stressed about what they couldn’t see- STIs and pregnancy

I am happy now, as happy as can be after one has endured the smattering of battering my childhood gave me

I continued the chain of abuse on myself into adulthood, not realizing my own role in the game, not seeing how I invited abusers into my life

I’m getting off this trauma-train; I jump off the caboose, let it ride away without me

Next to the tracks, nestled in the woods, I am happy now

Freedom

From the top of the ferris wheel of young love

You came to exist within me

Though I will never see your face or hear your heart beat

I carry you with me still

I had lofty goals of starting a family while starting a career

With less than 9 months to solve big problems, reality set in

I was privileged enough to have a job but not privileged enough to have maternity leave

I searched desperately for arms to hold you while I worked, considered everyone I knew, and found no one because everybody else was working too.

I am grateful for my freedom to choose what I do with my body

I take responsibility for my abortion but I must acknowledge the role that US healthcare un-system played in my decision

Why is it that so many nations have figured out how to provide years of parental leave, afford their citizens healthcare as a human right, give freedom to live without fear of financially devastating medical bills, yet we cling so bitterly to our ‘freedom’ that it poisons us to death

Our freedom is an illusion- the uneven distribution of privilege in America imprisons us in different ways while blinding us to each other’s struggles

Dear one, I blame myself for your abbreviated and hidden existence- I chose an unforgiving career with militant training and rigid requirements that didn’t allow space for the expanding curves of my female body

I felt trapped between the walls I planted myself between, I searched but I didn’t find room for you

I prioritized service to others so much that I had nothing left to give to you

I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.

Those words don’t come close to expressing the raw maternal emotions I feel for you, little one.

The air above my closed lips crushes me, impregnated with secrets

Even if I had managed to keep you, American freedoms might have killed you in your youth. We have racism and freedom for gun violence in this country, dear one, and you would have been born brown.

The lack of support for pregnant women and new mothers in the United States is barbaric.

Instead of taking away our constitutional right for abortion, give us a constitutional right for maternity leave.

Instead of the right to bear arms, I wish I had the right to hold you in my arms.

Prince

Tumble in the hay

Let’s hide away from the light of day

My fingers run through your flaxen hair

My other hand ends up over there

I go fish in your eyes- what a catch

You’re a fine dish, it’s no surprise that my mind’s between your thighs

Countless times I’ve denied myself dessert- the sweetness of your kiss

Though I’ve yet to taste it, it’s the flavor I miss

Though I’ve yet to be basted, I soak up your succulence

No matter how poor we’ve been,

You’ve always been my prince

Hallowed

Pacing through the night, I feel the tingle of a poem coming on- I imagine this sensation is similar to the prodrome of a herpes outbreak or a migraine aura, though I have been blessed to know neither.

College in the city- classmates were falling in love as I fell into prostitution.

Are you a drug addict? One of my male customers asked me, inquiring as to why I was working in the world’s oldest profession.

No, I’m just a college student- came my honest reply. Perhaps studying is a more expensive habit than drugs, and the result just as ethereal.

My classmate’s parents supported them with a stipend and they complained to me that $600 a month was too little, as they bought booze and cigarettes, mean-mugging the clerk at the Chinatown liquor store to appear old enough, a grungy exterior disguising their trust fund privilege.

My parents sent me nothing but a too-late berating on how I should have asked for money if I needed it after they discovered my unspeakable scandal, which they have not mentioned since- nor did their unearthing of the truth result in financial assistance. I thought that my empty bank account and empty belly spoke for themselves.

On a cold winter’s night, I still hear the howl of those hallowed halls, the tunnels of avenues lined by iconic sky scrapers, indifferent to my frigid body below bent into the wind

With frostbitten feet teetering in heels, dresses so cheap they were nearly disposable, and the most threadbare of coats, I did have fun from time to time- prowling the city like a stray cat, discovering the serenity of late night corporate art as Wall Street slumbered except for a few coked-out, drunk men. Like me, they were lonely.

From time of time I still feel the unloving alcohol in my throat, the tears in my eyes from choking on cocks and the iciness of the night air, the flavorless meals and banal conversations, the false promises to pay me afterward, the faulty checks written, the wads of gritty cash I shoved into my shoes for the long subway ride home.

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

Please don’t judge me for being a sex worker in order to make ends meet
You taught me how to dissociate from my body, how to put other’s wants ahead of my needs
You were my first violator and my first pimp
Remember molesting me at night throughout my childhood and adolescence?
You opened the floodgates for countless rapes
Remember forcing me to do things I didn’t want to do my¬†whole life?
Pimping me out to abusive children who you ‘felt sorry for’ because they did’t have any friends
The reason why they didn’t have any friends is because they weren’t good friends. Like you, they were trapped in abuse
Oscillating between abuser and abused
Remember commanding me yet never asking or listening?
I told you I was depressed, you told me I was not
The middle school guidance counselor called you to pick me up from school because I was suicidal-
All you did was yell at me
You found out I was a sex worker by violating my privacy
You yelled at me to respect myself
Yet you never respected me and actively taught me to disrespect myself
How can you expect me to fly when all you ever did was drag me down and break my wings
You raised me in poverty
Gave me no financial resources, no guidance
I was hungry, I had textbooks to buy and rent to pay
You want to take credit for my success
I became who I am in spite of you, not because of you
Though I see the crucial role you played
At the end of the day all I can say is namaste

Enlightened AF

You can never get to the end of it, you said about The Divine

Your words drew kaleidoscopic visions in my mind
I used to feel oppressed by poverty
Now I know I was only oppressed by the false beliefs within me
All the riches were always inside me
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders
Beyond the collapsing walls, the sky is open
I am still tormented by the torrent of my thoughts
Then I think, ‘I don’t belong in anyone else’s head, nor do they belong in mine’
I try to let go of unhelpful thought-patterns
Such as my deep disappointment when I deem myself as less than perfect in every way, which happens multiple times each day
I may not be able to unthink a thought, but I can balance a negative with a positive, I can let the cloud float away without latching on all day
Today I was transported back to the time when I’d jerk off men for pennies on the dime
Now in the context of a trained medical professional providing a form of physical therapy to another doctor
Standing next to the massage table, I felt as if I hadn’t come far even after all the struggle and sacrifice to get out of poverty, to give my kids a better life
I remind myself that I have enough and I am enough
In my humble, imperfect way
I am enlightened AF sometimes

In My Life

In my life

I’ve been privileged

To live in poverty and in relative wealth
Illness and health
I’ve lost love and gained,
Lived through madness, now sane
I’ve healed my body and brain
Felt broken, but now I know
I have always been whole
One with Spirit
I wish you well on your healing journey