Today I will praise.

I will praise the sun

For showering its light

On this darkened vessel.

I will praise its shine.

Praise the way it wraps

My skin in ultraviolet ultimatums

Demanding to be seen.

I will lift my hands in adoration

Of how something so bright

Could be so heavy.

I will praise the ground

That did not make feast of these bones.

Praise the casket

That did not become a shelter for flesh.

Praise the bullets

That called in sick to work.

Praise the trigger

That went on vacation.

Praise the chalk

That did not outline a body today.

Praise the body

For still being a body

And not a headstone.

Praise the body,

For being a body and not a police report

Praise the body

For being a body and not a memory

No one wants to forget.

Praise the memories.

Praise the laughs and smiles

You thought had been evicted from your jawline

Praise the eyes

For seeing and still believing.

For being blinded from faith

But never losing their vision

Praise the visions.

Praise the prophets

Who don’t profit off of those visions.

Praise the heart

For housing this living room of emotions

Praise the trophy that is my name

Praise the gift that is my name.

Praise the name that is my name

Which no one can plagiarize or gentrify

Praise the praise.

How the throat sounds like a choir.

The harmony in your tongue lifts

Into a song of adoration.

Praise yourself

For being able to praise.

For waking up,

When you had every reason not to.

When the Virus Comes

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.

And today that will be more than enough.

Wonder Woman

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

Love Game

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.

Related Poems

praise song

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.

In Praise of Okra

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,

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.