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“Pouring Out Some Liquor”

This is a “duet” poem that I was blessed to write, recite and perform with none other than Xero in Baton Rouge, LA.  The guy is master with words and it was truly a pleasure. –Ms.KeepingItReal


Pouring Out Some Liquor

by Ms.KeepingItReal and Xero


Both: We dedicate this poem to all the lost poems

Xero: To the imagistic lines that bent

and swirled around in my preoccupied noggin

and got soaked up into

rusted pipe dreams and magnetic memories

Ms.KeepingItReal: To magnets on the fridge two lines long

That were pushed around with letters missing

Both: Yearning to release and roam

From isolation to liberty

Xero: To the half-free verse, half-prose rants

that found their way

under the stove

to escape my cold fury

Ms.KeepingItReal: To the poem scribbled on homework

The teacher obliviously gave back

Both: Never saw us

Xero: To the seldom seen 1998 spoken word

crowd pleaser that only Jason or Keith

would ever request

Both: just to show how far back we go

Ms.KeepingItReal: Back to the poem that was to kill you softly

Eradicating your previous thoughts

Both: Beautiful had it not flown out of the window


Xero: To the sappy, cliché jumble

of doggerel that I handed to my ex-wife like…

Ms.KeepingItReal: To the words whispered in the dark

As he invaded my…

Xero: a barb-wire infection,

when neither of us were concerned

with line breaks or…

Ms.KeepingItReal: territory, made me an expert at freestyle

Words flowing like my love til it’s over

Xero: communication

Ms.KeepingItReal: To poems written in notebooks lost

Left on the seat of the bus

Xero: Left on a stool of the stage

Ms.KeepingItReal: Rushing to get off

Xero: To get out

Ms.KeepingItReal: and inside my house

Xero: my head

Ms.KeepingItReal: Took later to realize

Xero: To block it out

Ms.KeepingItReal: Hundreds of secret thoughts now gone

Xero: now murdered

Ms.KeepingItReal: I betrayed them

To the poems of only four lines

Both: Loitering on the pages

Ms.KeepingItReal: Incomplete due to my neglect

No urge to finish what was started

Xero: To that first poem I wrote

Ms.KeepingItReal: I wrestled with

Xero: inside the birthday card

Ms.KeepingItReal: love note

Xero: my fourth grade class gave to Mrs. Claverie

The one that made her say,

Ms.KeepingItReal: made her etch in marble

Xero: “Chancelier, never stop writing.

You have a gift.”

Ms.KeepingItReal: To answer present

Xero: To the lost inspiration

that I couldn’t have written

Both: better myself

Xero: that made me

Both: better myself

Ms.KeepingItReal: To the poems written on

scraps of paper, napkins, sticky notes

Both: long gone

Ms.KeepingItReal: Mixed with trash inside my purse

Never to grace my lips—your ears

Xero: Here’s to the poor poems that

never survived my hard drive

deleted from my laptop

Both: for my failure

Xero: to give them adequate electricity

Xero: To the poems that aren’t poems yet,

but will eventually be lost

because it’s taking me so long

to find a way to write them free



Ms.KeepingItReal: To the poems savagely

ripped from my journal

No words to tattoo minds

without permission

Xero: To the poems I printed out at work,

folded into thick rectangles,

Ms.KeepingItReal: slipped

Xero: into my back pocket,

Ms.KeepingItReal: carried

Xero: around all day,

Ms.KeepingItReal: placed

Xero: on my dresser, and

Ms.KeepingItReal: pushed

Xero: back behind the dresser

with other rectangular experiments

Ms.KeepingItReal: gone

Xero: awry


Ms.KeepingItReal: To the poems I rehearsed in my head

Desperately-over and over

No paper to record this

Pen pressed to my palm

Words staining my flesh

Carefree—I with errands to do

From here to and fro…where are you?

Smeared blue blur

Xero: I am here

attempting resurrections with recitation

over and over

no memories to remake you

palm pressed to paper

careful – I with errors to fix

from here, on and on…what are you?

Seared blue heart

Both: We are vessels of misplaced trust

learning only now

that waste is precious

and treasure can be stapled

to flesh


Army Strong

April 2, 2012

12:24 A.M.

Today my little brother embarks on the beginning of a new life…a new Journey. I am beyond proud of him for becoming a man and not just any man.  He’s a soldier of the United States Army of America. Now he’s my soldier and protecting the lives of millions of Americans that I have never met before. I’m in awe of him and how he has embraced the challenges that life has dealt him—even some of them that were Josh-made. The one thing that separates the losers in life from the winners is how they handle adversity. You can choose to get beat down, say woe is me and wait for someone to drag you out of the valley that you fell into or you can cry, dust yourself and put on the boxing gloves ready to go toe to toe with life.

With that being said, it took my little brother a while—a while to realize that he needed to grow up. I remember him being a baby. I remember him being born. Both and he and my mother almost died when she was giving birth to him. I changed his diapers and fed him. I remember him wanting to wear cowboy boots like his father. I remember when my mother dropped him off at daycare and he wore those boots. He fell in the daycare and hit his head. He could have had a concussion and the incompetent daycare workers let him go to sleep and it infuriated me. But God is good. I remember walking him to class when he started school. He would start to cry when he knew I was about to leave so I would stay as long as I could. Then he grew up and he got into remote-controlled monster trucks that he would race in the middle of the street. He got into WWF on TV and for PlayStation along with Need for Speed. I remember one day my mother was cleaning up the house and under his bed she found a shoe box with holes in it. He had caught numerous lizards and he had put them in the shoe box with leaves for food and punched holes into the box. Needless to say, my mother unknowingly knocked over the box and let them loose. Can you say, OUCH?!  There is nothing like watching a movie in the living room in the dark and getting bit by one of those lizards that is now a full-blown komodo dragon because he feed them too much!!

Then he got older and he began to become his own person. The boy has a way with clippers that is unmatched and he’s a beast with giving a lining so it comes as no surprise that he even cuts the hair of his fellow Army comrades. Then he developed his own swag. Gucci Mane on full blast making me want to pull my hair out…why must the music be so damn loud?! He started rocking a goatee and paying attention to girls and he grew taller and taller until he began to tower over me…the big sister. I went to Phoenix in 2010 and had an epiphany. I could actually hold an intelligent conversation with my brother and he was on some real type ish. I actually watched him give grown man, Think Like a Lady, Act Like A Man type of advice to his older sister truly desiring for her to become a stronger woman for not only herself, but for her child as well. It was a proud moment.

My brother is not perfect, but he’s my brother…so…here’s my open letter to him.

Dear Joshua,

I’m so very proud of you. I know that we don’t always talk as much as we should, but when we do, we go hard. I pray for your happiness and that you discover wonderful things about yourself that you never knew was inside of you. So here are some things that I want you to keep in mind while you are away from home.

  1. Keep God first. Always remember to say your prayers when you wake up in the morning. Your knees should hit the floor before your feet. You should pray before you leave the base for anything. Anytime that you are in a vehicle pray for God and your guardian angels to place hedges of protection around you. Remember to also say your prayers before you go to sleep. Give thanks for God’s grace and mercy and for allowing you to live to see another day.
  2. Follow your instincts. If something tells you not to do something or to go somewhere, heed it.
  3. Believe in yourself. God gave you good sense and a sound mind. You can do whatever you put your mind to. You know that the family will be rooting for you.
  4. Association brings on assimilation.  Be careful who you let into your circle. If someone shows you that they cannot be trusted or does not genuinely have your best interests at heart, then pull out the tools and tighten up the circle. You are the company you keep and because you are in the military even more eyes are on you than normal.
  5. Everything is a test.
  6. Remember that you represent more than the military. You represent us as well. If you think that it will disappoint mama, try not to do it. You’re human so you will make mistakes and we will be there for you regardless of what the case may be.
  7. Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.
  8. Be leery of those who say that you can trust me. If I can trust you, you don’t have to tell me. I should already know.
  9. See through the temptress that will be in abundance over there. Married women in the military are the worst. Marriage isn’t sacred there, but it is grounds for a dishonorable discharge. Steer clear of those females that are off limits…those that you report to, etc. I don’t know all the rules, but I have a few decent guys that I am cool with that are in there. “Don’t come back with no baby. “
  10. Read the news. Just because you are in the military doesn’t mean that you will always know what is going on in the world.

As I write this, I cannot help but to get teary eyed realizing that in less than 24 hours you will be on a plane flying across the world to begin your new life for the next two years. I pray that God keeps you safe. If you need anything, do not hesitate to call, Skype, or write. I’m praying for you—always. I can’t wait to come visit you!!!!!!!!!! I’m so proud of you!

Love always,

Your big sister

God Bless Our Troops!

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