When the virus comes, Talking heads on television screens will tell you to abandon ship. To drown yourself in a sea of isolation. Submerge homes in lysol wipes and hand sanitizer. Engulf body in face mask and plastic glove until it becomes second nature.
They will tell you to turn your kitchen into a panic room, basement into fallout shelter. Instruct you to grab everything you can, while you still can. They will say the shelves at the stores are empty, and not realize they are also talking about you.
They will preach from the gospel of quarantine. Shout parables of “Thou Shalt wash thine hands.” “For God so loved the world he socially distanced himself from the very people he wanted to save.” It will make you wonder how a hero or a government Can rescue someone they can’t even touch.
When the virus comes, you will kiss your lover like it’s the last time, because maybe it is. You will dance on timelines like decades are stuck on the balls of your feet. Sing like a quartet is trapped in your throat. Laugh like this is the last time you know what joy feels like, because maybe it is.
EyeAmBic performs “Wonder Woman” at Winthrop University.
For as long as I can remember My mother has been the strongest woman I've ever known A queen whose face is made of stone Jigsaw puzzles in her teeth piecing the truth together Her eyes are bridges that connect the past with the future She's what I like to call a straight shooter Will tell you exactly how she feels doesn't care how you think about it wears her heart on her collarbone like a diamond necklace Holds pyramids in her palms So you can feel the royalty in her embrace When she hands you a fist full of compassion.
My mama has a monument for a heart Hieroglyphics in her tongue decipher the elegance in her speech She is a small, strong and proud woman A woman who will put on high heels just to walk to the grocery store Will put on full makeup And get her face beat to the Gods Just to go to the gas station Because she believes that Queens should never leave the house looking like peasants
And she’s a superstitious woman who thinks that aspirin and vinegar can heal anything Im talking about arthritis gout, scoliosis, the flu… You name it she thinks these things can kill it And that's why I love her so much Because she makes ordinary things seem remarkable Like how she can take 50 cent box of noodles Add some milk, egg and cheddar Make the most delicious pan of macaroni and cheese You’ve ever tasted in your life So good it made Jesus smack his own mama
Rumor has it that That she once put BigFoot in a headlock smacked Godzilla in the face and told him his breath stank Killed Moby Dick Rolled him in flour threw him in a pan and called it a fish fry
Y’all my mama is a gangsta! I'm convinced she's thrown a couple bodies in the river Cause when I was younger she would perform drive by butt whoopings on me with a switch, extension cord, hanger Anything if I ever got out of line And when she was done she would let me cry but reminded that “she ain't raise no punk”
Showed me that being a man had nothing to do with the size of your genitalia but everything to do with the enormity of your character
My mama has the confidence of Cleopatra The grace of Harriet Tubman and the style of Michelle Obama She is a war machine With missiles shooting from her tongue That have stopped grown men in their tracks and brought them down to her knees Living proof that the most dangerous weapon in America is the voice of a black woman And it shows that black lives do in matter because she had birthed them and raised them And fought for them More than she has fought for herself
Because my mama is also a survivor and just this past year she fought her biggest battles yet with a giant named Breast cancer and a titan called heart disease And although one of those things took her breast it could never be strong enough to steal her heart Not vigilant enough to cut off her air supply Because she is air A floating force too big to escape yet too small to hold onto A constant reminder that yes God sent a son to save us But he created a woman to raise us
EyeAmBic performs “Love Game” at Winthrop University.
“Real quick all the people in love? Anybody in love? All the people that’s like forget like, I ain’t never want love, I ain’t gonna have love? Ok. Anybody have a boo, cuddle buddy, bae, whatever ya’ll call em these days. Snuggle bunny. So, so kinda like the second part to that poem, so like growing up as a man, well as people in general, but especially as a man I felt like love was kinda like a game right?”
So When I was a kid I had this great fascination with sports. From soccer to football to tennis I played any game that involved a ball and a competition I could win. Favorite sport of all time was basketball. I wanted to be like MJ and play in the NBA. So everyday after school I would practice layups, jumpers and triple threat stance Until the street lights came on. Hoping that one day I would make it to the league.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, That career ain’t quite work out for me. Now I work here and write poems. But I was always a fan of any game I put my heart Mind, body and soul completely into. Except when it came to the game of love.
See when it came to the game of love I was more like a rookie. A benchwarmer trying to fight my way into the starting lineup. I was never on the first string. Never picked up on the first run, So I had to sit on the sidelines and watch Other players score when I was struggling to get a shot.
I had to find out very quickly That some women will always put you on their roster, But would rather choose men with less skills And more swag. More J’s than A’s. More willing to run and shoot than to throw you an assist. Obsessed with tight ends who only wanted To touchdown between your legs.
Mark your private parts on their scoresheet Rank you on their ESPN top lays of the week And then when they traded you for a new pick, You always came running back to us.
See relationships are alot like sports. Everyone wants to play but no one shows up to practice. Put in the hard work on the hardwood, Grind for glory on the gridiron. Fight on the ice. Go the distance for 12 rounds ‘cause this is more than just a game From the first kiss to the first fight You will find yourself in nonstop action.
Your first date is a scrimmage, Where both sides are feeling each other out Trying to determine if you are worthy of playing time. Your argument is a heavyweight fight Full of low blows and sucker punches Jabs and uppercuts designed to KO your opponent. The first time you show your physical love Will probably be after that first argument.
And if it ya’ll make sure it feels like the olympics. Make her long jump from long strokes. Turn his baton in a pole vault. Turn a javelin into a discus until it shotputs And then when you are done remember to never Make them jump over hurdles for your affection. Treat them like your star player. The only option in your triple threat offense. Cause if you don’t, there will always be players on the sidelines waiting to get drafted. Fans in the stands Looking for you to drop the ball so they can pick up your fumbles
So if you want them Then show how them that you want them Put down your guards and power forward By making them the center of your attention. Treat them like your teammate and not your sparring partner. ‘Cause relationships don’t come with playbooks. No sets and schemes to beat the opposing team. You have to play as you go, work out Put in the overtime hoping that you can win the game But remember ya’ll this is more than just a game, It’s an experience.
See in the game of tennis, when a player has yet to score a point In a match it is called “love”. Cause they know it's not about keeping score. It's about starting with nothing and adding more on top To build something beautiful. And ya’ll love is beautiful. Love is the only competition worth living and dying for So we run suicides Cause sometimes you have to kill the person you are In order to birth the lover you’re meant to become.
So, no I am not in the NBA. I will never get drafted to play in the major leagues. But every time I look at the scoreboards in her eyes I know there is no way in the world I could possibly ever lose.
you woman tree woman one swaying to unheard of winds uninvented air streams you woman sky with palms broad enough to hold eqypt who taught me to walk slow and deliberate like i had somewhere to go who taught me stories that needed telling to love men and women who needed who taught me to fetch life out of the depths of rivers taught me the words that the tree branches sang to wake the sun and bring morning home who taught me to love loving with my eyes wide open who taught me to dance and smile in rhythm to clap with an open heart
The water is one thing, and one thing for miles. The water is one thing, making this bridge Built over the water another. Walk it Early, walk it back when the day goes dim, everyone Rising just to find a way toward rest again. We work, start on one side of the day Like a planet’s only sun, our eyes straight Until the flame sinks. The flame sinks. Thank God I’m different. I’ve figured and counted. I’m not crossing To cross back. I’m set On something vast. It reaches Long as the sea. I’m more than a conqueror, bigger Than bravery. I don’t march. I’m the one who leaps.
No one believes in you like I do. I sit you down on the table & they overlook you for fried chicken & grits, crab cakes & hush puppies, black-eyed peas & succotash & sweet potatoes & watermelon.
Your stringy, slippery texture reminds them of the creature from the movie Aliens.
But I tell my friends if they don’t like you they are cheating themselves; you were brought from Africa as seeds, hidden in the ears and hair of slaves.
Nothing was wasted in our kitchens. We took the unused & the throwaways & made feasts; we taught our children how to survive, adapt.
So I write this poem in praise of okra & the cooks who understood how to make something out of nothing. Your fibrous skin melts in my mouth— green flecks of flavor, still tough, unbruised, part of the fabric of earth. Soul food.