Bronx Poems: “Untitled 5”, “We are Loners (for my brother)” and “For Kalief”

In Poetry Issue Five by Kay Bell

We are Loners

Untitled 5

About this mouth
that kills
midweek; mid-sentence,
tongue lashing,
throat swallowing
dead,
wanted alive
but is well aware
death is inevitable.
That mouth that
licks the thick sweet syrup
off your lips,
and screams “I need you”
as it welcomes a hearty
appetite.
The smutty lipstongue,
that articulates unfinished secrets.
The labial vehicle
that sleep talks,
recites poetry,
sings Psalm 91
in a barbaric tongue,
and burns glass bodies.
This mouth; the treacherous sword,
is oral in its performance
of raw entertainment.
Muzzle meter, exotic verbalizer,
filthy, pretty, incinerating torch.
These weighty sacred jaws
is a giftcurse; won’t stop
spilling vocabulary vomit.

It wrecks me.
It wrecks me.
It wrecks me.


We are Loners (for my brother)

You told mommy you hated her today,
but I knew
that was a lie.
You held that Heineken bottle tightly,
like your nephew
clinging to his favorite blanket.
Your sturdy hands were shaking and I witnessed the privacy of your afflictions in your dialect
and sweaty forehead.

There is a story to tell,
I promise one day I will tell the world that all the odds were against you
and that Barbados raised you alone.
I will not leave out the flawlessness of your swaying body
against Kartel tunes
or the cod fish and rice with lentils
in the winter.
The liability isn’t all yours.

I know the pain rides you.
But we are loners, brother.
We live in a land where we must “honor thy mother and thy father”
or we won’t live long enough to see our tears trace the city like bridges.
There are no morals to your story,
only a restricted beginning
forging an appetite for women
and children
with hostilities.

But, you are not the “Prodigal Son”
you are a father and brother,
rising before day
to iron your clothes
and begin your hustle,
because “the early bird catches the worm”
and you are destined to fly above lifeless expectations
speaking the language of the stars.
You were never an illusion, or fiasco,
you have not failed.

When you spoke to mommy today,
those lies didn’t bandage my revelations.
You wanted to be held,
for real,
but instead,

you drank your Heineken and sat down.
Mommy, sobbed in the corner
and I smoked a cigarette at the table,
as our sister was yelling something about telling you to leave,
while our children were asleep in the back room.

Who will tell your story?

There are Bajan dreams dying
on the inside of a man.
There are remnants of his nightmares
stirring his nostalgic sorrows.
Marijuana stained secrets
relating to his
insensible one-night stands
and there are people walking by,
doing nothing…

We are loners, brother.
We rip the flesh off bones of truth;
There are hills in our backs and jungles in our souls.
We walk on frayed ankles,
born as Bajan pariahs
and American misfits;
we scream quietly.
We know no mothers
or fathers
or the love that comes in between.

No one understands us.

I sung a black girl’s song today,
but tomorrow
I vow,
I will tell your story.


For Kalief

a book bag; universally colored, tucked inside an orange jumpsuit, arranged as a jacket to metal doors, and bed bugs chained to delinquencies. The souls and minds of hungry men, guilty or innocent, are built together with frantic eyes, caught on the edge of paper thin cots,

kill beat kill.

This is the day lonely eyes are seized, ensnared on an island in a room intangible but authentic with blueblack feelings and disarmed manhood on suicide watch.

I take the #42 bus to BCC and wonder if we have ever smoothed the edges of our faces against books and noise.

I know you,

You are tongues of sanity, urban sidewalks littered with segregation and televisions
that avoid speaking our truths. You are mangled atrocities, an unchecked mailbox, a registered voter, left in a facility of shame. And even now as I pray a request of breaths, I can’t hold you, I can’t capture your beginnings.

a book bag; an orange jumpsuit, a language of injustice, a memory of valor. Be still now and

sleep

About the Author

Kay Bell

Twitter Website

Kay Bell has been writing since her 6th grade teacher introduced her to the poetry form: Haiku. She can be quoted: “If it makes me cry, sweat or bleed, then it is worth writing about”. Kay Bell has been published by the online quarterly journal “The American Aesthetic”, in the book “Brown Molasses Sunday: An Anthology of Black Women Writers” as well as in other venues. She lives in the Bronx with her husband and two sons and is earning an MFA at The City College of New York.