The Peak Experience…Reloaded

25 09 2007

First of all, I apologize for my absence in the blogosphere. I must fall back on my college alma mater’s very appropriate motto here: No excuse is acceptable, no amount of effort is adequate until it is effective.

I will do better starting now.

Well, since we last chatted I have been hospitalized, traveled to two different continents, and still heard no word from any of the agents currently in possession of my novel. As I’m writing this blog, I’m listening to my very good friend Samantha Raheem Thornhill’s second spoken word CD Merror Mirror ( I seem to always turn to poetry when looking for inspiration in the world of prose. Poetry opened up a new world to me nine years ago and has probably saved my life over the years. Let me tell you about my origins as a poet.


I’m a junior at Florida A&M University, in my third year of business school, when I learn that I will be moving off to Detroit, MI for an internship with a major pharmaceutical company in the sales division. I’m leaving the sleepy confines of Tallahassee, FL for the hustle of the Motor City, and it can’t have happened at a better moment. I’ve been dating a woman seven years my senior for the previous eight months and this internship is my get out of jail free card.

I’m 20 years old and have recently experienced a flurry of failed relationships. Five girlfriends in five months. Serial monogamy at its finest. I sure know how to pick them too. Leave the well adjusted girls to the losers, give me the fixer uppers. I believe that I’m some sort of Prince Charming that can heal any woman’s heart. I don’t understand why I need to do this or even what makes me think that I’m capable, but this has become an emerging pattern.

I’m also a hopeless romantic. I only just recently lost my virginity (not that virginity and romance are mutually exclusive), not necessarily in the way I had imagined it. I really believed that I would hold out until I was in love, but it was not to be. In the end I succumbed to pressure from an ex-girlfriend who I had learned some of the sexual ropes from my freshman year. Years later I would write the following poem about the experience (from the chapbook lightbringer,

the first time

body and mind are not aligned
body ready, prepared, waiting, anticipating
mind only hesitating
from the soft cave of the couch
into the open mouth kiss of the bedroom
the players
enter the sanctum of his quarters
clothing strewn from wall-to-wall
the green room of a teenager
the clothes of a man
the girl wants it
the body of this man
the mind of this boy fights a futile battle
but i’m not ready
drowned out by the girl screaming her readiness
apparent by the hardening of aereola
the sugar in her kiss
the bulge in his crotch
becomes impossible to ignore
the mind and body continue this dance of indecision
the boy has envisioned this moment but not like this
she is not even his
like a memory
his heart looks on her sprawling body
the body yells if not now
then when (will i win)
the boy hears her inner sanctum calling him
he bathes in her waterfall for the first time
climbing a mountain of ecstasy
the mind now a horrified spectator
then the girl tells him to stop
but he hasn’t reached the top yet
she cuts the cord saying
no it hurts
mind translates
she’s not ready yet
body doesn’t understand
boy climbs back down the mountain and out of her sauna
he is ashamed
girl unsympathetic but kind
and now it’s too late
is he a man now?
mind and body debate
body thinks, he ate the apple
the taste will haunt him
boy asks if he can try again
he’s not a virgin anymore

Two months later I’m dating a girl I never believed I’d gave a chance with and because of this fact, and because of the fact that I’m working 40 hours a week, going to classes, and having bunny rabbit sex (but where’s the love?), I haven’t noticed that she has basically moved out of her dorm and into my apartment. This fact dawns on me one morning as I tug furiously at lost strands of her curly black hair stuck in the drain of the shower that I share with my roommate. How did this happen, I wonder? Less than a week later we’ve broken up. This decision was influenced by my need for a break from her possessiveness and the fact that I had a passionate interlude with my downstairs neighbor and best female friend.

Me and the best friend consummate the relationship shortly thereafter, a choice that will doom our friendship for the next sixteen months or so. This is best summed up by the following poem from my chapbook poetic fables.

Two Friends

Two friends became lovers,
One fateful Saturday night.
As the thunderstorm raged outside,
They held each other tight…

Two friends who often spent time together,
But always kept their distance.
Found inside each others eyes that night,
A force from which they could offer no resistance…

Two friends began to touch each other,
In ways they never had before.
All other thoughts were forgotten,
As they kissed and stroked on the floor…

Two friends separately taken,
Whose hearts were already claimed.
With better judgement clouded by passion,
Could not extinguish the torrid flames…

Two friends tried to calm the storm,
Before it washed them away.
But their lust was an enemy much too strong,
And no was too difficult to say…

Two friends promised not to regret,
The lovemaking that day they made.
With uneasy smiles and guilty hearts,
They hoped their friendship would not fade…

Two friends renewed their passionate affair,
As again and again they tried.
To heal the wounds between them,
To dry the tears that had been cried…

Two friends stopped communicating,
As tension settled between them.
There was nothing that could be said,
To keep their loves light from growing dim…

Two friends began to find other things,
Other people to occupy their time.
Allowing the value of their friendship to slip away,
They never paid penance for their crimes…

Two friends never spoke again,
Until one friend received the call.
Cancer had claimed yet another victim,
One friend felt the phone slip and fall…

One friend died that day,
Leaving the other friend to mourn.
Lost time, lost days,
And dead vows that had been sworn.

In the midst of my short and problem plagued relationship with my best friend, I meet the woman who will come to define suffering for me. It is love at first site, and this emotion is best expressed through the following piece from my chapbook lovelost:

Dejá Vu

I sit quietly in the corner table of a coffee shop absorbed in reading
sipping French vanilla cappuccino to amplify my senses

Page after page I flip, as the mystery unfolds
our hero is fast on the trail of the villain who has captured a damsel in distress

Suddenly I get a feeling
a feeling that someone is stealing glances and taking chances to look my way

I stop reading to look up and around to open my ears to sounds
and my third eye blinks back from the force of the energy she’s sending me

“Can you feel that?”
she whispers on the wisp of an exhaled puff of breath and cigar smoke

I become hypnotized by the rings of smoke floating like lazy dragons out of the antique pipe
protruding from the left corner of cherry red lips

They pucker and pout as she stops staring to inhale
and I read the sensual story of luxurious eyelashes

The tale of two delicate fingers
that hold the pipe with an air of subtle elegance

The relevance of the book in my slightly shaking hands eludes me
and I start the conversation with, “Excuse me…”

Hours pass and the early morning sunshine grows in intensity
as noon approaches I barely notice

We are finishing each others sentences and drinking in each other
like the coffee other people consume as they enter and exit talk and read meet and greet live and love

I realize after a long silence in which a million unspoken wishes become granted
that I am seeing myself from inside her warm pools of chocolate sensual mystery

“Do I know you?”
…those were the first sweet words she said when I sat down and now I believe she does

We spend our lunch engaged in oral intercourse
as we walk mind in mind through the park

Day becomes night spring becomes summer months become years
all in the course of one conversation

I now know that I will never tire of my pipe dream my pipe queen
that I always knew was waiting in the shadows for her curtain call

I start to fall head over heels for her sex appeal
when I jerk awake slightly embarrassed that I had fallen asleep so easily

And then I see a dream of pouting cherry red lips
puckering and beckoning me into action

Or reaction
to the vision that came of a love that was true.

Or maybe
it’s just déjà vu

Like a good film adaptation, this poem is not exactly how this meeting happened, but it does clearly express what it felt like to meet this woman that fateful day. I was sprung. She was a goddess: sexy, worldly, experienced, and crazy as a lune. We started dating officially during Spring Break of 1997 and after two suicide attempts (hers not mine), a major betrayal (hers not mine), a faked pregnancy, and one fight too many, all in the space of eight months, I’ve had enough. The internship got me out of the city just in the nick of time. But the whirlwind of the previous 16 months is still weighing heavily.

This becomes very clear to me one night in January of 1998. I’m in the hotel room of a fellow representative in training in the companies regional office near Chicago, and I’m basically telling this very attractive woman who I really like, my life story. We talk all night, from 8 pm to 8 pm. A night like this had never happened to me before and will never happen again. This is the night that my life changed in a fundamental way that I will only come to terms with much later.

My bleeding heart interprets this event as a sign. She must be THE ONE. Training ends and we go back to our respective cities for a month before returning to the training center. Attempts at connecting with my special friend are rebuked, and I’m left feeling grossly unsatisfied with the situation. I return to the training class, eager to see her, but she spends the week ignoring me. On a flight to New York for the culmination of the training, I can’t sleep, so I pull out my agenda and write the first real poem I’ve ever written (from my chapbook lovelost)

The Look

At first glance I was hooked
As if I were reading the climactic moment of a great book
From my head to my toes then I shook
Daring to venture a second look

And there you were
Yet extraordinary at the same time
And there I was
Just as speechless as a mime
You just stood out from the rest definitely a dime
Then you spoke
And your voice was the music the wind makes through a chime

Immediately I felt an urgency to know your name
Though I had no idea where you had come from
I was very glad you came
Thinking to myself she’s someone’s wife or girlfriend
Oh what a shame
Still my heart was raging like a wild beast
Impossible to tame

What was the next step I had no current plan
I was as clueless as Columbus in search of new land
I recall thinking whomever she’s with is the man
Because he gets to be close to her
And what I wouldn’t do to be down with her clan

These thoughts were broken up by one return glance from you
I looked down as fast as I could
Like there was something on my shoes
You probably just turned your head for a second
But I hoped it had been for a few
Because I had become lost in your eyes
Now what was I to do

As it turns out you were just as single as I
Still I told myself to play it cool
And not let my hopes fly
It was taking a chance to get to know you
To actually stare into your eyes
Because inhaling your essence
Made me feel high

So in my mind in day and night dreams
We would meet
These were the moments when I felt most complete
I imagined caressing your skin as we shared the same sheets
And how every time our eyes did meet
My heart skipped a beat

Going insane from electric moments when my way your lips smiled
Feeling bloated and sick
My longings withheld for this long while
Only able to punch in six of your digits
On the telephone dial
Made me delirious and dizzy
From my love’s denial

This is why I wrote this I had to let you know
But I don’t want to offend you
By letting my feelings show
I pray that it will be closer together not farther apart
That we will grow
And there’s no rush
We can take it slow

With these words said I am at ease in my mind
Because I am so blessed
To have met a woman of your kind
Take some time and search your heart
For it’s me there that you’ll find
Then together we’ll move forward
And leave loneliness behind

I type up the poem as soon as I get to the hotel and send it to her via e-mail. I check my e-mail religiously in the coming days, eagerly awaiting her response. Nothing. I’m chocked full of nervous energy without an appropriate escape valve. Then, suddenly a few days later, in the midst of the training meeting, I begin to write. Poem after poem flows out of me. In the beginning, the words are directed squarely in her direction (with titles like: Dazed and Confused), but soon, I’m writing about any and everything. I leave the training meeting without closure, but having gained this precious ability of self-expression that has been missing my whole life.

And to my even greater surprise, the poems don’t suck. When I begin the most healing relationship of my twenties by reconnecting with my high school sweetheart, my words become the tapestry of our two year love affair. Beginning with one of my favorite pieces, My Rose from lovelost, to Withering Rose, winter in the garden, the story is poetically revealed, and the circle is closed.

My Rose

Roses in the garden wilderness
Bloom during all four seasons
As I wander through this garden viewing nature’s beauty
I am enticed even further into the colorful depths

Each flower I pass beckons to me
Reaching out to touch me with soft rouge fingers
Calling to me with pheremonal aromas
That only roses possess

I find that resistance is my only chance for survival
From an eternity of floral bliss
Among a sea of thorns
For beneath the surface of all beauty lies the potential for pain

These thoughts help me keep my distance
But distance is the only relative of closeness
And this relativity keeps me searching towards my desires
For the pollination of my pure feelings and emotions by the flower of my affection

So I choose a delicate beauty
Hoping to cultivate a love
That will grow to be more beautiful than any other natural phenomenon
But alas, hopes last only a small while longer than dreams themselves

And I am awakened from this dream
By my life force bursting forth from the bite of the wild flower
As I prick the bitter sweet thorn from my hand and taste my own pain
I experience my first taste of love

And this memory of my first experience in the wild
Has haunted my dreams
Until in another when
I found my rose again…

Over the next nine years, I will go on to write hundreds of poems in a hundred different forms about hundreds of subjects, join the world’s largest poetry troupe Black on Black Rhyme (, and perform on stages from Tallahassee, FL to Brooklyn, NY.

For those interested in reading more of my poetry, please click the link to my myspace page.

“There is only one journey. Going inside yourself.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke –