Virtual Open Mic III

August 3, 2016





A dusty garden of radishes
So hot they burned my tongue
My dead father’s deader dreams
Long gone—and yet, I pluck them up
Dig through and crack the clay
Til my fingers bleed and I can again 
Feel the fear of losing everything
I’ve worked so hard to build.


I’m afraid—hide under the bed and
Wait for monsters to come and devour
All I am, cover my ears to block out
The thunder of wanting you
I can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t think 
Of anything but wanting you
And losing me, of trusting you
And losing myself
I can’t say whether I’ll advance, will stay,
Or will crumble, bits of earth,
Shattered clay,
Scattering to the winds.


Yes, I have read, and I
Have wandered, wondered,
You want an answer

But I can’t, I don’t, won’t,
Can’t, may, no, maybe
Can’t know my own heart
What I do know is heat,
Summer lightning jumps
In my pores when I hear
Your voice, whispering, 
In the frenzied agitation of my atoms.


When summer comes,
It’s a world of sweat, of heat,
Blistering like those Sunday school shoes
That cut into your feet, you scream
For freedom, as it drips off your brows,
Slicks between your thighs, your eyes
Blink once, maybe twice, to clear
The way for what you hope—
You hope.


I had a dream, you don’t know,
It was only three weeks ago
Of you and of me, and we were
Walking, hand-in-hand,
I didn’t understand when I awoke,
I thought, how awkward it would be
To tell you—
Because, in the heart of me,
I was home, I was safe. 
Felt whole, felt things I’d never felt before,
And I thought it funny—how odd,
Let me tell him, but I—
Knew better.



Apparently, the chemical necessity
For honesty is 1.5 bottles of wine,
So here is the truth of me—
I am in love with you.
And every bit of fear I have
That burns me, incendiary,
Burns like flames on kerosene—
I’m being honest
Take what you want of me,
I trust you, I hate you,
I want you—
I want to trust in you,
I am trusting you now,
I am weak,
I am small,
I am yours—for as long
As you want me.




Why are you so weird, so often I hear
Hear What made you this way
So odd, so strange?

If only you knew.

Who was it who made you,
Made you strong,
Made you weak
Made you the first to speak 
In a crowded room?

If only you knew.

You don’t seem how I thought
Thought you were stuck up
Then you laughed, said “Shut the fuck up”
And your smile grew

If only you knew.

If you only knew that painted eyes
And highlighted hair
Doesn’t make a woman more than fair
It’s not the size of my thighs
Or my straight white teeth
That make me beautiful

It’s the scars you never see.

And you don’t see them
Because I don’t know you
And I don’t give one f*ck who
You think I am
Who you think I should be
Because I was born on pine porch swings
And cut my teeth on fried chicken funerals
And Lysol’s death watch waiting

I was a heathen in a Baptist spring
Baptized and burning with questions
Of why am I different
Where can I go
Why don’t I believe
And who will love this deep dark strangeness
In me?

I can shoot my mouth as easy as a pistol
And still be unafraid of recoil
Because I never back down from a fight
But none of that matters now

Because if only you knew
That you, too, are strong
Beautiful, powerful
Able to stretch one hand to a star
And another out to your brother,
Sister, a stranger,
If only you knew we are all 
At odds with ourselves
And with each other
And that is what we share,
What can make us better
Then, you would know
That where I came from doesn’t matter
Who I’ve been, who I am,
Those can all fade easily into the ether
It’s who I’m becoming who matters
And who you’re becoming who matters
And somehow, we all fit
Into a stunning, calico pattern

If only you knew. 



Crystal White has difficulty sticking to the same things which is why she has published fiction, nonfiction, poetry and even refrigerator magnet witticisms. She is currently working on her eighth novel, an historical novel about a sundown town in Tennessee. She has a Master of Professional Writing and works for an Atlanta digital agency as its strategy lead. 

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