Hmm.

Yes,

Saw him at the gym.

Looked like you.

The hair, the beard, the face

The dark skin.

The quietness
The stoic

It was enough to where

I looked at him to compensate

And felt badly.

But you’re not here

And it’s something to think about

All other men

Mere mannequins.

You are beautiful darling
And that makes me ponder

While growing fonder.

I still ask

When are you coming home?

Not geographically

But to hear your voice on the other end
Of the line

I wouldn’t want to speak and break
The sound, the song of it.

Your rhythms.

Tell me, love
Have you figured out yet

How to stop loving me
As I’ve tried to cease
Adoring you?

Pray, show me how
Show me how
Show me how

It’s a gentle ache
But it permeates

Makes me ponder
While growing fonder

I do so want
To smell your skin
Breathe you in.

The little groove right behind the ears
The warmest spot
The best spot

I would shower it
With my kisses.

At night
Alone in bed
In this large room

I cry for you.
I cry.

But I will wait
Hmm…

Yes,

I’ll wait.

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Pride & Anger on the Eve of Christmas

It’s a funny thing, pride is…comes out of nowhere and chokes you, leaving you paralyzed. For me, the paralysis took form as anger on Christmas Eve day.

Being a grad student who pretty much lives alone most days of the year, there is an extreme form of independence that quickly turns into selfishness and indignation when put back into the sphere of family in close quarters. The frustrating habits of siblings that you have not had to acknowledge for months on end comes back and hits you upside the head. And you find that your desensitization wore off a long time ago.

So there I was, washing the dishes as my oldest brother continued to watch ESPN (the TV had idiotically been on all day, something that peeves me) as he was looking for the Cowboys game that turned out to be nonexistent, which was no surprise as they’d just had a game on Sunday (common sense is not always my forte, but c’mon). Well, he stated something along the lines of “Well, I’m done, it’s not on…” and then retreated into his bedroom, leaving the TV on.

Naturally, I thought, “Alright, here’s my chance…let’s pump some estrogen into this screen”…and had settled on some funny countdown show. I just wanted something to humor me as I finished the last of my chore. Then he came back into the room like he was fixing to do something and so I asserted, “Don’t change the channel please, I’m watching something now.”

He then went on to murmur something like “Forget that” and flippantly changed the channel. Well, then came my thunder. I was thinking… “How inconsiderate can you be?! You’ve had control of that remote all morning, you leave, and then completely disregard someone else in the room. What universe am I in?”

A human one.

And I was about to find out just how human and fleshly I was, although I’ve been aware of that fact for awhile now.

So I threw my dishtowel into the sink and went over to take care of his problem with disrespect. A bunch of words came out of my mouth which he expertly disregarded as I continued to get purple in the face. I felt as though I had no power, that was part of the issue, and short of wrestling the remote out of his hands (I came close)…all I could do now was either (a) brush this scenario off and move on aka WWJD or (b) sulk, and I was not okay with either scenario.

To make matters worse, before he and my parents left to do some holiday shopping, he had the “audacity” to try and leave without turning his beloved TV off. So I said, “Oh, you were watching that, am I right? So maybe you could turn it off.” Yet again, complete disregard, and also my mama getting in my face because I was unnecessarily stirring things up.

And of course, she was right…but it was like I couldn’t stop. Even her reprimand wasn’t enough. They left, and my temper began to boil over. There I was pacing around the house yelling “Oh no, no, no, NOBODY messes with me like that, It’s not gonna be like that, you don’t play with me, you don’t EFF with me!!!” Then came the wonderful blackmail text messages that I sent him afterwards with statements such as: “Just because you’re the firstborn and therefore can do no wrong, doesn’t mean that I won’t let them in on what you do. I don’t mind digging up dirt.”

Really, Neema, REALLY?!

This conniving, divisive spirit came out of nowhere. It was like some poison coursing through me with no antidote.

It scared me. It was a “What have I become?!” moment.

And the roaring anger, the wanting to belittle and “set you in your place” was so unlike where God had brought my heart. I didn’t feel like a lady, in fact, my reactions reminded me of those UFC girl fight previews they show, where the women are doing their smack talk and sound like no one in their life ever told them they were beautiful.

It didn’t settle until later that night, and even then…there was turmoil within me that was a combination of muted anger, guilt, sadness, and hurt. I was paying the price for my pride. It was a swift fall, let me tell you. And it sucked.

It still does. Who likes to see that side of themselves? Who enjoys cutting at people’s spirits with words shrouded in ill-will? I know I don’t.

So, my Christmas Eve day was the toughest pre-Christmas celebration I have ever endured. No fireworks here, just figurative bruises and black eyes. But, I am learning. Every day, I am learning. Every day I need to be reminded that there is more than enough grace for me. Because there is…that’s a reality. That’s a fact. And above all, there is freedom. I am not bound by my flesh, whether it takes form in anger and pride or something else entirely.

Throughout our lives we will partake in receiving holy training via exercising and strengthening our spiritual muscles. Not in and of ourselves, but through our Savior, Jesus Christ. And I want to battle unexpected pride and anger with some seriously juicy Fruits of the Spirit, let’s review them in closing, shall we?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

-Galatians 5:22-23

BOOYAH.

Turn the Light Off

Image

And can you not…

Turn the light off?

A constant buzz, a flash

A noisy.

My being tires of you.

Concrete. Fake smiles.

Busy.

Wearied walks, legs–

Could you turn the light off please?

Then water.

Dense silence.

Limbs moving

A seldom known quiet.

A voice

A mountain

A reaching

A vision

Turn that light off.

Let it swallow me whole.

Enveloped.

Sealed pure.

Turn it off.

And let me hear it.

You know that sound–

An echo vibration.

A shaky yet stable.

Turn off.

Turn of YOU.

You as in me.

And you IN me.

Melded.

Let me separate

Distinguish–

Turn off the light.

Let me taste richly

See in the clear

Calm me.

Please turn off that light…

And let me live simply

Rock gently

Cook in hum.

Hot tea

Woods deep

A lake, the sea.

Just you and I

Take me to our Eden.

I’ll hang the clothes to dry

Wake you with a soul song

Listen to you through our eyes

Kiss you gently yet fiercely

At once.

Let me love you saturatedly.

Lucidity.

So turn off that light.

In the mute

Find me free…

“I wake again, …

“I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.”

-Psalm 3: 5

Here I am.
And we begin again.
A Wednesday means this
Fresh dew, sunrise.
A breath in and ten out
Another day to be delivered
Another day to return from exile
Another hemming in of behind and before
Another desperate
Another cling
A song to you
Another step on the trek
To Zion.
A repetition of a new covenant.
A remembering.
A knowing full well...
But not entirely
Never entirely
Because we never can.
Know the fullness?
From my experience and the power of reason
I'm sure
That if I were to be saturated
With all of the love you have contained
For me
Us.
I would implode.
But here we are again.
A Wednesday, already full of mistakes
And doused in grace.
Take off your shoes...
Desperately even.
TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES.
You are in the presence of GOD.

Flesh vs. Spirit

And if I don’t want to I don’t have to

And I won’t.

Yeah, it sounds good to me,

But ice cream gives a good brain freeze.

You see, I don’t see how that could work.

I love the idea of it, and it’s pretty and it’s everything I could want in that

But, no, that’s not the easy way.

And I don’t want to have to work at this.

What do you want from me?

You have my heart, you know that.

Now you want me to share it?

Share it with an other?

With a he?

But you see, we were so gooood you and me.

SO good, blissful and free.

I found my childlikeness with you again

We ran together on the levee

To feel the train whip by us. Too feel.

I winked at you while I took photos of your sunrise in the clouds.

MINE. YOU’RE MINE.

Yours. I’m yours. You claimed me awhile ago.

You fastened my spirit to you from the outset.

And never let me go.

I’ve touched your face with my poetry, with my smile.

Now you want me to let another in?

To this?

Naw, but see, what we have is good…you and me.

And I can’t be away from you.

I refuse.

I have to have you.

I won’t let some guy sidetrack me.

Even if you’ve set him apart.

NO.

Okay Lord, it’s a battle you see.

One on one is what I know.

I’ll fight it out of insecurity…out of fear.

And out of devotion.

But if you tell me to go forth

If you tell me to trust.

Your word is my command.