Mama, am I pretty?
And if I'm not, can you teach me how?
Or at least how to be "pretty enough."
How to tip my eyeliner to the perfect point, so that when my tears flow,
they stream perfect vertical lines of "it'll all be okay"
how to fill in my brows just enough that I can still be on fleek
while also resonating with the natural me?
Can you teach me how to foundation cover my scars and bruises,
So that I can be the perfect porcelain dolls I see on tv?
Teach me how to radiate with the glow of a thousand splendid suns.
So that I can still shine in my dark moments of oblivion's emptiness.
Teach me how to expunge the black hole void which suck up the humors of my dank morning,
leaving me with smoked out lungs and window-tinted expressions.
Mama, can you teach me how to love?
How to love the true places the false men kissed,
hickey-marking me as "temporarily" theirs.
The people who towel-wrapped their arms around me in pseudo-"I'm here" and "I care."
drying out my once saturated heart.
How to love the little black books each past lover has ticked-marked my name in.
Mama, teach me how to walk with the power of our ancestors
fallen in the motherland at the hands of the greedy white man trying to defend our rightfully owned land.
So when I walk, they see me coming, and fall back.
Teach me how to stand strong and make people want to look at me.
Help me want to be seen.
Teach me how talk with the booming confidence of 7 cacophonic thunderstorms.
a simple beginners luck with the help of gods.
So that when I speak a word,
an infinite and holy cooling silence remains.
Mama, teach me how to be strong.
So that I can move the oppressing mountains of injustice
and break down the closing in walls of "you are not enough."
So that I can run against the wind,
and outrun not only the boys,
but also the misogynistic bullets of womanhood that bring us down.
Teach me patience.
So I can wait...
For the stolen lives of my fallen brothers to be justified and breathed back to life.
I want to be amongst both headed towards the light
and those headed toward the shadows.
I want to be a marble combination.
that sundances in the puddles of today's present
and night whispers the horrors of yesterday's past,
for both catapult the results of tomorrow.
Mama, I want to be an icon.
Not to everyone, but just someone.
Teach me how.