I stumbled
A street
On 7th
And 23rd street.
i put
my whole
And flipped
What I could not afford
To buy.
But the looking was enough.
“how much is the duke Ellington and John coltrane?”
My fingers crawled across the plastic and faded letters
Wondered if John and duke imagined their gold would one day be vendor eye candy.
That they would ring in grande balls and then be
2 feet away from ground and the bed some claim it to be at night
touching their art was enough…and just as magical, knowing the beauty
They made out of the silence
Weaving a story that I
In my silence understood
A jazz that sung to the air…
Held hands with
Ruth brown and Herbie Hancock
And George Benson
A little culture
For the block
A little touch of misplaced history.


I maybe wanted you to call.
I’m glad, that you didn’t.

You would have fallen in love
And I wouldn’t have had enough
time to remember
what it felt like to be loved
i wouldn’t have had
the patience to relearn
how to touch your
heart and mean it.

All of this grit in me
all of this clenched mouth
and sour heart of mine
has made me
a sinking ship.

I do not want to be saved.
I do not want to return
to the land of love and possibility.
Let me sink to the bottom
of this empty.
Let me forget that i was ever
so foolish enough to
think that Love was
ready to take all of me.

(c) RW 2014

American Flashback

There is no era
past the 70’s
for me.

Not even the 70’s
feel comfortable.

the way some
people fantasize
about swing dance
and big skirts
about ribbons
and bebop

the way some
pin their hair up
and wear red lipstick
and say that they
are channeling
channeling the
cotton club

I can only channel
the down trodden
colored only
signs slapped
over dingy
and bathrooms.

I channel the 4 girls
at Birmingham
Emmett Till
tension in brown
folks feet when
they walked to
their jobs every

I know life found a way to
be beautiful still,
but I just don’t have
enough imagination
to forget that
it wasn’t too long
ago that I wasn’t
allowed to
piss in the same
toilet, let alone
carry ribbons
in my nappy
poof of hair.

(c) RW 2014


I can smell your sweat.
Can see the lie in your smile from this aside of the room.
You do not love him.
You do not love the way he coils his words round your neck.
How he pricks his plans into your back and plays you like puppet.
Don’t appreciate the ukulele you’ve become.
And yet you stay.
Feet cemented in sand
lips melting from the self destruction you profess to him.
β€œI love you”
Stabbing your own heart every time.

How To Be A Woman.

be yourself
But not
Too loud.
Not too thin
Or too tall.
Or too fat
Be just right.
Be just enough sexy
Be just enough pretty
Be just enough smart for the small talk.
Just enough titty and butt
To attract the porn star in them back home.
Be a home.
Be the mother, the lover,
The living room
And the kitchen
Be good enough to keep him from straying
Be good enough to never fall apart
Be the glue that binds it all together
Keep it together.
Keep it interesting.
Keep it real but not too real
Keep it new and popping
Be MTV and IPhone and Twerking hot.
You know.
Just be down for whatever.
Just roll with the punches
Just roll over like dough
And be bread for his swallow.
Be back straight
Be hip swayed.
Be yourself.
But do not be
…too loud.
Do not say too much.
Do not be a sharp wind…
Say whatever will make him stay.
say whatever will make him love you.
Give him the fantasy he pretends you are
and digest the rest.
You Do not give him your midnight
You Do not show him your ugly.
You do not let him know who you really are.
That you are forest
That you are the jungle, the waterfall, and the garden.
That you are mountains worth of human
He asks that you be a flower
Have the nerve to ask a continent to be a mere flower in his vase
would rather pick you and watch you die slowly
than watch you bloom free.
But you be that.
Be flimsy and weak
Be quiet and complacent.
Make everything you
do about making
him happy
And you will be fine.
Act like this binding of the soul is necessary
Act like its acceptable
Make everything acceptable
Do not be flawed
Do not point out the flaws
Do not be honest on how you feel
If your honesty will hurt feelings
Do not cry when you are angry
do not cry when you are sad.
Do not be sad.
Do not be emotional.
Do not be
For you will make him uncomfortable
Will chase him away
By giving him a glimpse of
Whatever lies hidden behind your obligation for acceptance
for Love gone wrong
for the you that’s too consumed
with being everyone’s favorite
you forget how it feels to be original
to be strange and demanding
for the you that’s too afraid
to find they don’t really want you.
Too afraid to be okay with that.
Hold the ticking time bomb of your soul close.
Hold your chin up
Hold your mouth—quiet
Hold the heavy of eyes
under the mascara you wear
wear makeup
but not too much
be just as pretty when it’s all off
be just as fun when the fun is gone.
Be just right.
be happy.
Be perfect and sexy and pretty
Be your self
But do not be.
Do not curse the circumstance.
Do not be a sharp wind.
Do not be a mountain.
Do not fall apart.

(C) RW 2014

The Sad Heart Is Not.

The sad heart is not
Searching for happiness.
Happiness is a catalog on Paradise
That only reads for so long
It’s a slice of the best pie
But not the whole
Sometimes it will make you feel whole.
Will sew up all the leakage of heart
Will bring you a laughter you never knew would come.
Sometimes happiness will bring you lovers.
lovers that look you in your eye and say what they mean and mean what they say
Will bring you magical light and beautiful mornings
Sometimes that will be all you need.
Sometimes you will be confident the
Dark will not creep in.
But the sad heart does not want happiness.
Does not want the never ending cloak of vanity
Will not satisfy on good times alone
Will always awake in the midst of the illusion.
It will realize the temporary.
Laughter does not pay bills
Does a very poor job of mending broken selves
And the boys you thought you loved will be only as good as the mask they wore at first.
No, happiness, is a moment.
An all night party that ends at 4.
And the sad heart needs that the least.
would prefer healing instead.
would prefer the callused hands
of joy to wrap around it
God sent.
The calm of a quiet night
neither extravagant like romance
or rambunctious like good tidings.
but settling
and peacefully still.

RW (c) 2014

jazz lovin.

I am the keys
and you are the off tone
jazz note
ringing out like
piano. like
tap dance.

When I touch you
there will be
no exclamation.
you will no longer
have to wonder
if music

You will belong to me
In the quiet.
My smile
the treble
Your eyes
the horns
our bodies
a sniffling bass
through the
of us.

We are a song.
a flick of tongue
and moment.
I do not bother
to kiss you.
You are already mine.
We have forever
to find each other’s
I will be keys that
and you:
the syncopated
noise blaring
from the inside.
the horn shouting
so loud it loses
itself to the silence.

R W (c) 2014