What Langston Hughes Left Out

Take good care of your dreams, ‘cause dreams left deferred & unworded grow rabid & sewer-mouthed. Refuse to loofah, take long hot baths in retrograde babble. They feast on outrage, compose suicide notes riddled with typos, electronically transmit your thoughts into bank accounts of moral bankruptcy. Those deferred & unworded dreams rust up rainbows, riverdance at funerals, spread venereal diseases of dirty verbiage. They teach masterclasses in infighting & backbiting, create pandemics of pointless paranoia, counterfeit any last semblance of positive change. So yeah, take good care of your dreams.

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Rules of Grammatical Engagement

If you allow me to be more than just some optional object in your sentence, I’ll be the verb that always agrees with your subject. If you don’t turn my thoughts into contractions when they can be spelled out entirely, I’ll never treat your proper nouns like some old common noun. If you don’t reduce me to an indefinite article when a definite one will do, I’ll allow you to show possession of me without using an apostrophe + s. If you consider me your either/or, I’ll never think of you as my neither/nor.

The Fuzzy Math of Man and Woman

At the intersection of man & woman exists a complex geometry: parallel lines of love & consideration contend with irrational proportions of neglect, condescension & emotional constriction. Non-complementary angles of sexism versus fairness, those seeking domination versus those seeking collaboration, battle it out in the three-dimensional space of our human condition. When seeking to solve, one must learn to transform oppositions into congruencies, discrimination into prisms of empowerment. Create ratios of respect. Equilateral equality. A more perfect circle of union between the sexes.

Long After Last Call in Hope’s Dimly Lit Bar

There are days when blackbirds are more massacre than melody. When the mind becomes a clown car of self doubts. When we decorate the windowsills of our eyes with sad and wilted flowers. When we must vie for moments of peace amidst life’s unending bomb explosions of bad news. Still, there is always earth’s music rising up from the cracks in the sidewalk. The dogeared poetry of a friendly smile to be read and read again. A shot glass of hope left on the bar long after last call.

Pretty Isn’t Always What It’s Cracked Up to Be

These days, the light by which I write takes a little longer to arrive, while grief’s grammar comes a little too quickly. Sometimes, stone hands tattoo words like ash, entropy, and wreckage upon my tongue. Other times, my thoughts glow pure and saintly, like they’re packing hope chests and halos. Forgive me if I am not explaining myself correctly. What I am trying to say is pretty words can sometimes conceal deep hurts. What I am trying to say is sometimes it is better to let your wounds do the writing.

Sing What You Be, Sing Day Into Being

Music of birds, breeze, and the solid-gold song of sun rising to number one. The burnbright of love-kindled rhythms. The stitchwork of sweet, otherworldly lyrics binding together our vast and varied melodies. Sing what you be, sing this day into being. So honey-geared and almighty-lighted, this jukebox of morning.

Forget the Latest FaceApp

There’s a new one that reveals what you’ll look like in your next life. It repairs the cracks in your heart’s broken mirror. Eliminates love handles, burns away belly fat. This new app abolishes injustice. Gives peace a chance. Offers a cure for cancer and the suicide gene. Makes Alzheimer’s forget it even exists. Teaches you how to play guitar and repair your car in three easy steps. Saves you from drowning in debt, breathes new life into dying relationships. Pays your college tuition. Truly listens before speaking. Best of all, this new app eliminates all scraps of racist fat and gristle from America’s melting pot.

Compassion’s First Movements

It starts as a flutter of a something deep in the belly. Then it comes on strong; an elbow or a kick, a ripeness of alive tethered to benevolence. Floating in its amniotic fluid of euphoria, this soon-to-be bundle of empathy needs no ultrasound to announce its presence. Deep inside you, this tenderhearted feeling has a heartbeat mightier than James Brown’s backup band. It shimmies and boogaloos, practices jujitsu and kung fu. With a final poke in the ribs and a tickle in the throat, this sensation of grace works its way out of your belly and into the world— a living, breathing act of tenderness.

Choruses of Glories

Upon the soul’s stage, glorious music is played—the passionate & compassionate vamp with backing rhythms of kisses & encouraging words. Quiet & confident guitar solos of humility. The warm, fuzzy feedback of swooning & spooning. Complicated time signatures of emotions played with the utmost empathy & consideration. At the center of these sounds: bruises & blisses trading solos, creating new revelations & rehabilitations. Melodies allowing the ears to become eyes, witnessing choruses of glories praise our highest being. Musical instruments forged from tongues speaking a language of grace by any means necessary.

After the Fire

What matters is that you can inhabit life‘s insane asylum without it driving you mad. That the engines of menace can run at full speed without you getting caught up in the cruelty. That your inner flowers can still flourish as our political landscape devolves into a desert of destruction. That violence, hatred, and betrayal don’t become your unholy trinity. That the world’s Frankensteins don’t monstersquash your earthshine. That the guns of peace become your weapon of choice. That you remain a soldier of grace in life’s ongoing war. What is important is that you can sleep with fire and wake up smiling.