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“Downtown Monday Morning”
Aw Man
The birds sound like a fanfare
I should take better care
Where is my underwear?
Inside my pocket
Next to my wallet
And somebody’s
Antique silver locket.
The buildings loom over me
In disapproval
As the sun climbs the sky.
I feel so unusual.
This is the hour between
Going to work and
Going home.
I got brittle bones
And hammers
Running laps in my dome.
I see a food truck
Trundling by.
I got a couple bucks,
Tummy’s rumbling besides.
How did my life come to this?
Walking home
From the bed of
Someone who’ll never call,
Someone I’ll never miss.
I used to be
More discerning.
I protect myself
From burning
With anything other than
My relations
Used to be a lot of
Song and dance,
Making elaborate plans
Just to get in Somebody’s pants.

I check my phone
In search of a text,
Hoping who I just left
Wonders when
We’ll get together next.
I stare at the screen
In shame.
So much fun and games
Last night,
I don’t remember a name.
What a waste!
The awakening city looks
How I feel and taste.
Exploding cannonballs
Right behind
My face.
The food trucks got
Breakfast burritos
For mouths tasting
Shame, lint, and
Moldy Gazebos.
Apple juice,
Then I sit on the curb.
There’s no bench.
When I chow down,
Tastes like
A monkey wrench.
How did I get
This locket?
Did I steal it?
Was it a gift?
Should I toss it?
Might’ve been the price
Of last night’s tryst.
Whoever owns this
Gonna be pissed!

I get a text with a picture
Of my favorite tie
Threatened with scissors
While hanging
From a light fixture.
I read:
“I wanna make this
Bring back my locket
Or the Windsor Knot
Gets it!”
That ominous warning
Got my
Stomach turning
While I’m
Downtown Monday morning.

-Mesro Dhu Rafa’a


Kepler vs. The Sun

Kepler asks the Sun during the daytime,
“Is violence always the result of ruptured lines
In your magnetic field, or can you balance the sides
Like how the Moon influences Earth’s tides?”
The Sun replies after a quarter rotation,
“Instead, ask your numerous populations
Why police brutality and firearms ovations
Are the result of misrepresentation, miscommunication.”
Kepler rejoins, “Can your restrain your polarity
To heat places where warmth is a scarcity
And darkness clouds visions of clarity
That expose our imbalance and disparity?”
The Sun says, “I act according to my nature.
I’m a Sun! You’ve spent years studying my nomenclature,
Yet, whenever honesty and openness touches vapors,
You bring hate speeches and ignorance to crowds and papers.
“Is it your nature, then, to damage whoever seeks
The truth about the harm felt when hatred speaks?
My lines break, and aurora colors skies and peaks
While your minds take time to make bodies leak.
“Orbit is my hug, though I have burned some,
But light and warmth for you is priority one,
So before you question me about how flares begun,
Ask yourselves why you always answer questions with guns.”


Flick the Safety

My first day of fourth grade, I saw a man
Shot through the chest resting beneath a stand
At a train station. A few months later
I saw someone get her wig split by the kater.
Family argument, my aunt’s boyfriend heading out
With a shotgun to blow apart the head and couch.
In the projects, I kept the thirty-eight since I was eight,
Watching for Jakes because my neighbors push weight.
School shootings are tragic! I ducked bullets
At recess, where, like magic, the students pull it,
From the waist or backpack. I had to be strapped
In case of bullies, opportunities, or PLAP! PLAP! PLAP!
News got nothing to say until the gat spray
Where their heads lay, where their kids play.
I had to be strong and speak to children steeped
In brains, stuffing, and family beef.
Showing wars overseas in stark detail
While frail people get gunned down for retail.
What does that say about society today?
What does that say about how we spend our days?
What does that say about someone who thinks fixing
Problems is shooting everyone who wouldn’t listen?
Unused guns don’t kill. Let’s be hasty
To put them away. Don’t forget to flick the safety!

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