one-hundred-fifty-four.

how hard it must be for you
to dress yourself in your best,
each day,
thinking your charm, broad shoulders
and your expensive taste
will make the world bend their knees,
let go of personal beliefs
and fall into you and over you,
fall for whatever
you want us to believe is truth.

how hard it must be for you
to laugh and flirt out of error,
to give up your seat,
and be the “gentleman,”
simply to bypass glass ceilings,
that were never even installed
for people like you.

you’re not used to people like me,
questioning your activities,
encouraging humility,
so you spend more time wishing me
a good morning, a lovely weekend,
thinking it’s working,
thinking you’re as smart as your suit.

a crooked smile,
a few shiny teeth,
but you still haven’t figured out
that while i’m sipping on tea,
saying, “have a good night,”
i’m furiously analyzing
how you secured a job
at a higher level than me.

you invest in your business relationships
the same way you buy your belts,
leather stitched together
by an underpaid worker
in a third world country,
all to make you feel important.

and you’ve never had to use your brain
to succeed.

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one-hundred-fifty-three.

crying doesn’t make me a sissy,
it just makes you uncomfortable.
when you should be addressing my upset,
you shame my actions, instead.

one-hundred-thirty-five.

there are the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.
there are the lights at night, twinkling brightly.
there are the snowflakes, sticking to rooftops,
’tis the season for coconut-chocolate and fried dough.

there too are the to-do lists and gift lists and naughty lists.
there too are the credit card bills and dinners you’d rather avoid.
there too are the busier streets and louder sounds.
’tis the season for questioning how and why we sprout,
energy levels low, no patience (no doubt).

one-hundred-twenty-five.

no electricity for two, three days even.
cooking in the basement,
only in the houses with gas stoves.
eating that soup in the freezer.
finishing the ice cream,
carton, cake, on a stick.
citizen crossing guards directing.
people of all skin,
smiling through car windows.
the sky an evening pink flame.

the night the power went out.