Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Marshmallow Lips

Fluffy, soft, and sweet to the touch–
like toasted marshmallows on an open fire
in the starry evenings of summer.
Gooey on my lips.
Bring your marshmallow lips over here, Darlin.
Keep your arms around me as I gently rub your back.
Please don’t release me from your grip just yet…
I’m not ready to leave you or your sugary lips.
Kiss me as if it were the last time…
Kiss me as if the world around us was coming to an end
in the blazing explosions and cascading floods of finality,
and they were only a few inches away from this car.
Kiss me as if time was no longer in existence
and the apocalypse was inevitable.

Outgrew U

The days when we filled the high school library with more laughter than books
and the gargoyle librarian screeched at us to lower our voices were always a riot.
We confided in each other with deep dark secrets hidden in our psyches
in the sacred circle of truth and never whispered them to another soul.
The evenings we crusaded the streets in that un-environmentally friendly shag van of yours
with your dad manning the wheel to various movie theaters were some of the best adventures
I had as a teenager.

But those Peter Pan days of innocence, fun, and frolicking diminished as senior year arrived.
College classes, exams, scholarship applications and thinking of my future intervened.
College was an option by any means necessary. Then I was finally accepted as a Roadrunner.
Sorry you couldn’t follow me…
Sorry you couldn’t stand with me at all those buses in the scorching heat,
the blistering snow, soaking rainstorms, or late nights when not many creatures were stirring.
Sorry you couldn’t stand by me when I shook hands with Mayor Hancock,
rubbed elbows with Janine Davidson, or even witness me photograph America Ferrera.

You weren’t there for the long Saturday afternoons that turned to evenings on Auraria.
You weren’t there when I was contemplating, developing, and interviewing people
for the Denver Urban Spectrum, the Metro Post-Telegraph or even Westword.
You weren’t there when my feet bled as I was photographing a comedian at Comedy Works.
All those late hours uploading, developing, and captioning various photographs on Photoshop.
Hell, you didn’t even witness my photojournalism professors chew me out in front of the whole class numerous times. Or when other journalism and English professors, peers, and editors ripped my writing to shreds to make me feel like shit!

Nor were you there that Friday afternoon at the Denver Coliseum when I was clad in my blue cap and gown, (not green), and trod humbly across that stage as a college graduate.
You only popped up on rare occasions…and I began to ponder until I had an epiphany:
I outgrew you both and I learned that that it was ok.
But those Peter Pan days will never return.
All those adventures we had are no longer valid (I have a girlfriend to adventure with now).
That van of yours has no room for me anymore. But you have your own set of friends now.

I feel no scorn, rage, or sadness about you.
I carry no more love for you. Only neutrality.
No matter how you slice it,
no matter how many times you invite me back in,
nor how many times you forgive me,
or I see you and your parents in public,
I’ve grown up and outgrown you like old clothes.
Your threads have decayed and blow loosely in the wind.
It’s time to shed you from my flesh and heart so I may carry on.

I won’t return.

No regrets.
No guilt.
Just saying goodbye.

God bless you both and have a good life.

At the Crossroads

I put my heart on the line again…
This time I expressed my concerns to you.

I can’t always lead you–
I can’t always be the torch

for you to navigate out the dark.
Sometimes I’m concealed in the darkness

and I need the light.
Sometimes I’m under water and I can’t breathe.

Sometimes I need you to throw me a life preserver
or I’ll sink like a giant anchor.

Sometimes you have to pull me from the belly of the whale...

We’ve been boys since high school,
but had a few classes in junior high. C’mon!

When Kenny bleated in Ms. Butler’s class,
and had the whole class laughing.

Even in high school when Ms. Flory taught us
the art of argumentation and language,

and Ms. Taylor drilled us about leading questions
during the mock trial unit of our speech class.

We’ve had our dealings with the devil heat,
and the brisk hands of fall/winter in those public buses.

Now we’re at the crossroads.
I’m not breathing fire like a dragon.

But I want you to understand where I’m coming from.
My life is rolling along like yours…

But I still attempt to make time for you.
I still enjoy your company.

You can’t half-ass this friendship, Man!
I know what you go through,

Helping your mom and dad,
while also keeping an eye on your sisters.

They need you and I respect that.
But my parents, brothers, and girlfriend need me too.

I still attempt to make time for you,
and try to check up on you.

Now we’re at the crossroads.
I’m not breathing fire like a dragon.

But I want you to understand where I’m coming from.
My life is rolling along like yours.

You were my brother from another mother!
I don’t want to end our comradery…

Your timing is off and I’m a perfectionist.
We could work it out…

But you have to make an effort.
You can’t half-ass this friendship, Man!

Recovering Perfectionist

My name is Khaleel the Writer,
and I’m a perfectionist (Hi, Khaleel!).
Shrinks say I’m bordering between anxiety and OCD
with abandonment issues (Thanks a lot, Alex!).
Each time I stack boxes on pallets
or put my messy pen to the desert page in my notebook,
part of my brain wants it perfected–
I am required to give my all or it won’t mean shit!
If I can’t develop the right words to say to my girlfriend
I fear she’ll wake up one day, realize I’m a loser, and sail away without a life preserver.
If I don’t write the right (see what I did there?) words,
my editor at Westword will drop me like yesterday’s news (gotcha again)
and I’ll have to freelance somewhere else.
Perfectionism, like alcoholism, is a demon that creeps and resides inside your psyche
Maybe I can’t evict him, but I can damn sure make him pay rent plus interest.
I can make him realize my life is as precious as a jewel in the Cave of Wonders.
I can make him understand that I didn’t need Alex to succeed.
My real dad was planted in my life and stood like a towering sunflower.
My mom’s unlimited supply of hugs, kisses, laughter, and advice
followed me wherever I went like Mary’s little lamb.
God’s love endured with me forever even when I sinned before Him.
My girlfriend accepts me as I am–warts, scars, and all–
and even though I haven’t landed a career in my field yet,
I still graduated from college with a degree for writing…
It’s just a waiting game that all recovering perfectionists must play.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019


“Either love me or leave me alone!” –Jay-Z

Everyone is entitled to their opinions–
That’s what makes everyone individuals.

It only gets fickle and fishy when people wanna attack your opinions–
catch them and crucify them like the Messiah,

because these opinions don’t match the norm
or the mindset of the majority.

Why must fights break out over opinions?
Why must wars break out because of varying modes of thought?

Some people are killed for speaking against the ways of society and government.
Why? It’s like children on the playground.

If one child doesn’t get his/her way he/she throws a tantrum
and causes an uproar amongst the other children who just want to play.

But let’s get one thing straight…you can’t silence me!
You won’t tell me to be quiet. This isn’t a library.

I’ll have my say whether you like it or not.
This damn president of the United States can speak his mind,

(And I’m not even racist, bigoted, or perverted).
Why can’t I speak openly?

It’s up to you whether or not you want to agree with my opinions.
If not, then leave them alone.

I don’t go around picking fights or ruffling feathers.
I only state my case, give as much support as I can, and leave it on the table.

Don’t shut me up because you don’t agree with me.
Just keep scrolling…

Monday, July 15, 2019

Here it Goes

Here it goes–I’mma tell you how I feel.
No stones unturned or punches held.
I just take the plunge–
Sorry if I splash you as I cannonball!

I care about you incessantly
to the point that I listen to every
love song that’s ever existed
and put them on replay in my mind.

You’re the first thought I think of as the
birds chirp in the first rays of dawn’s light.
And you’re the last thought I think of before
I lay my head down on my pillow.

You took my heart when I wasn’t looking–
That’s as rare as the Silly Rabbit taking a bite of Trix cereal.
You always have my insides churn and ready to burst
like a pinata with rainbows, lollipops, and confetti.

You make all these millennial women look like trolls,
witches, and warlocks who hang out at Shrek’s swamp.
You’re not afraid to get your hands dirty when you work hard
and you don’t obsess about the latest unpronounceable fashion moguls.

You keep the positivity flowing like a charge from a battery.
And you don’t carry yourself like girls I knew from my past:
You’re real and not afraid to approach me.
You give me hope…that maybe I’m not the bad guy after all.

Maybe marriage and having a family is possible in my lifetime (only God knows!).
Maybe true happiness isn’t hard for me to obtain…

There (*sigh*)

It’s out of my hands now.
I threw down the gauntlet.
You can choose to pick it up or leave it there.
But if you didn’t know how I felt,
I might’ve fell over like Spider-Man at the end of Avengers: Infinity War
(Mr. Stark...I don’t feel so good!).

Monday, June 10, 2019

Long Live the Angry Blonde

“Don’t ever try to judge me, dude. You don’t know what the f–– I’ve been through!”–Eminem, 8 Mile

He didn’t come out of a storybook or Aesop’s Fables; He came from the brightest hellfire.
The Rap God* developed like a Polaroid; Lyrics struck like missiles from his vocal cords.
Hate him or love him, the angry blonde made his mark on hip hop.
He murdered the entire alphabet and became infinite.*

No book in the world could teach me all what he taught me; Outsiders and nerds are people. too.
I’m not afraid* of falling in the icy depths when I walk on water.*
I gotta lose myself* with this pen that strokes words across the page.
Some mothers screw you over, but you gotta clean out your closet*.
I was bit with the venom* and I’m snapped in with adrenaline ready 2 hit ‘em.
I dare you to say what you say* so I crash into you like a kamikaze.*
I’ll keep writing and photographing till I collapse*.

Long live the angry blonde…
Long live Eminem!

Words/phrases marked with an asterisk (*) indicate song titles/albums by Eminem.