Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Kendra was my
first best friend's,
first girlfriend

you know how that goes...

side ponytails
popping gum
tattoo on her right thigh
we thought she was cool

she used to cornrow our hair in zigzags
tell us stories
about the boys on the block
in Brooklyn
sneakers and cement
door knockers and streets that weren't paved with gold
but Afro-Caribbeans with two jobs
and two hearts
bodega's and hair salons

where Keisha's and Kim's
get upset about their "do's"
walk out without paying
and nobody says anything
cuz' round there boyfriends did drive-by's
for unsatisfied girlfriends

we thought Kendra
even when her belly was swollen
calluses on her feet, at 19
she bragged running her fingers
along her stretchmarks
"im gon' buy my baby jordan's. he gon' be fly"

that he;
was born a she four months later
silent from the womb
like her mother had cried enough for
both of them in her past lives
her name Aniya; at three
saw more of her mother's
shoes and clothes
playing dress up (like her mother played parent)
we used to say she was trying to walk a mile in her shoes
maybe one day she will
like breeze
in and out

chubby light skin cheeks
pressed against the glass door of the patio
Aniya searched for the wind
that was her mother

she is six now
can converse as if she is 13
blurs of words
"daddy, new girlfriend, mommy,
new brother, mom's new family, couches,
late nights, the kids make fun of me"
Brooklyn swallowed her whole
Aniya still waits on doorsteps
still answers the phone on the very first ring
still laughs when there is nothing to laugh about
never wanting her mother to catch her in a sad disposition

that is,

if she ever bothered to show up

my definition of cool
changed like junior high school memories
hung in my closet in the form of
Jansport's with white out on them
pep rally streamers
notebooks with rhymes that just weren't good enough
and the notions of Kendra and



OB said...

wow... this was and is beautiful..

your extremely talented mama

Anonymous said...

that was so powerful.

you have beautiful skills

anxious to read more....

Healingprose said...

You better be the greatest storyteller poet!

I adore Amel Larrieux. You should check out her "Morning" album. The album track is purely poetry in song form.

Little Miss Knobody said...

As always, this was really nice...Keep 'em coming!

Ziggy Za. said...

I swear, everytime I read one of your pieces, it's always better than the previous...which is hard to say because I love them all. Dope story, Riv.

Namond said...

do you always gotta be so dope?

Black Muse said...

That was beautiful.

Michael DeAntonio said...

I feel like I know those people. Well done.

FunkyHeadHunter said...

I have only one word for this piece...


nuff said.

Mr.Socialight said...

that was real tight. be and do well.

Amoni said...

Exremely well done!
Loved it.
Your poetry is very insightful!
Wishing you the best in all that you do.

Lyrik Marie said...

You couldn't have written this poem any better .. I really like this 1 Riva .. It's beautiful

amirah. said...

loved and totally connected with this one.