Thursday, April 28, 2016


On the nights
She would
Binge on its sweet
The day had been
A bitter pill
Jammed down her throat

The flood of its richness
Dislodged her ire 
Its arctic foxtrot through her cells
Numbing the ache
Of life's gut punches and body shots
Every calorie vital
To augment her spindly nerves

To cook a meal
Would suggest she had stamina
A hunger for the savory
But her demons
Frequently broke bread together
Made a buffet of her appetite
Toasted repeatedly to their treachery
Guzzled her spirit
And left her to deteriorate

But there was always ice cream
Therapist without inquiry
Only panacea for her ills
Silent comrade
With caring smile
Refuge from the firing line
Luxury like
Sturdy flannel PJs
And chin-hugging electric comforters
Enough apology for her troubles
To pacify her sunken heart

And when the carton was depleted
For the time being
Were her woes

©2016 Charlene E. Green

Monday, April 25, 2016


i see you
laid out for him
in your full-length glory
extending yourself
across his foundation
protecting your coveted space
so inviting
so perfectly situated
for him to use you
like the accessible
trusty door mat 
that you are

i understand you
and my soul cries for you

because the thing about being a runner is
you're never positioned
to elevate
from the ground floor
of his world

always faithfully there
at the entryway
waiting for him
to return
hoping to glean
from the vibration
of his footsteps
where he's been all day
without you
his feet
the only parts of him
you can look forward
to connecting with
the rest of him
belongs to a life
he will never
think enough of you
to let you experience with him

you must know your place
in your place
at all times

do not ask to be moved
to a spot
where people will know you exist
where you'll be seen in the light of day with him
like you are in your torturous dreams

you do not get
outdoor privileges

your job
is to be there
in the darkness
when he arrives
prepared to let him
wipe the ambiguous remnants
of his fulfilled days
all over your curiosity
days you best not question
days you needn't concern yourself with
days you'll spend every night
inserting yourself into
through your fantasies
where he'll introduce you
to his people
finally give you identity
where you'll watch him smile
as your nectarous flavor
leftover from his morning feast
clings to his palate
like wildflower honey
enraptures his taste buds
oozes from his mouth
dangles from his lips
: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :
where you wish
your name hung
like customized decor
for general viewing
where you wish
he praised you
where you wish
you could hear his secrets

where you wish
you weren't housed as one

where you wish
you could press
your lips
in a public display of affection
where you wish
he would say
i love you
: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :
but the thing about being a runner
deep down
you already know
the most attention you'll ever get
is when you're not properly secured
to be walked on

©2016 Charlene E. Green
From my upcoming poetry book You Betta Write!

Friday, April 22, 2016


Yesterday morning, when my bestie-sister Leslie called me to tell me about Prince's death, I was in the worst position: sitting in the waiting room of the effing ER, with a large, mysterious, level-eight-pain lump in my abdomen, already in my feelings because almost a year ago, my family lost a cherished one to stomach cancer, and this thing in my stomach, which has been there for six months but not properly diagnosed, had been at level-eight pain for almost 24 hours, which had never happened ... so yeah, I was scared, to say the least. But I hadn't cried yet. Even at level eight, it wasn't the worst pain I had felt. That pain was level 5000, in 2007, when I ruptured a disk in my back and was almost paralyzed. So although I wanted to start bawling, I couldn't justify the tears just yet. But trust: my feelings were increasing by the second.

When I saw her name pop up on my phone, I knew something was wrong. I knew it. I answered with caution. She was sobbing. My heart started leaping all over my chest. Reluctantly, I asked her what was wrong, because I thought it was her that something was wrong with. I was partly right. Through her sobs, she said, "Charleeeene ....... PRINCE ........" and my whole being deflated. I felt a little lightheaded. Right that second, all I could manage was, "No, no, no, no .... no, no..." and then I looked up at the three TV screens in the ER and there it was, with no volume for me to hear a thing, and all three TVs were confirming what she was telling me. Our guy was gone. And it didn't help one bit that we couldn't be together to go through it.

Our guy. Mine and hers. He was ours. When I met Leslie, we were in sixth grade, but our friendship didn't blossom until seventh grade, and it was shortly thereafter that we discovered we had a mutual love: PRINCE. My gawd, the things we did. The obsession we had. Writing Prince lyrics on the damn chalkboard in the library when we were supposed to be working. Buying every, and I do mean every magazine Prince was in, even if it was only a teeny picture the size of one of our fingernails, so we could cut them out and scrapbook them. The posters and pics plastered all over our bedroom walls, no room for anyone or anything else. The concert my mother took us to in 1982, because she knew of our obsession with him, where we peered at him from near-nosebleed seats through a pair of binoculars and nearly wet our pants the whole time, while my gracious mother marveled at us two, our friendship, and how we loved this man together. He bonded us, helped secure our lifelong friendship, continued to be a force that kept us sane when we were separated in high school when she moved away. We still had Prince.

But in 1984, Prince's significance in my life upleveled when, in August, I watched my grandmother have a heart attack, and my grandfather and I were the only ones with her. He was busy trying to care for her, so he hollered for me to "Call the ambulance! Your grandma's sick!" I'm 15. It's midnight. My mother is on her way home from Hawaii. And my grandmother is clearly dying in front of my eyes. I call. They come take her. And then ... she is taken. In August of 1984, Purple Rain the album was out, and it was all I listened to. I had the song "Purple Rain" on repeat at that time, and after all the chaos surrounding my grandmother's death, that song is the one that I cried myself to sleep to for months and months afterward, while I kept running the midnight scenario at my grandparents' house in my head. While I thought about how I had to tell my mother, at 15, that her mother had died while she was on her way to her. While I thought about how the greatest woman next to my mother was now gone. I cried big, hard tears every damn night, and Prince was there with me. Even decades later, I wasn't able to listen to "Purple Rain" without bursting into tears.

So when Leslie delivered the news, and I was where I was, feeling all the fear and uncertainty I was feeling, and I couldn't effing hear why our guy was gone, then..... then, I cried. I bawled. I wailed like an abused child, right there in the ER, for over an hour. I was literally (TMI) slinging snot. The man sitting next to me, who was injured himself, asked me three times if I was okay, and if I needed some help. I could barely assure him that I was okay, because I wasn't, really. A man I never met but that had huuuuuge influence in my life was dead. I was sitting in the ER afraid for my life. And I was watching my whole childhood with my bestie-sister and my grandmother flash before my tear-blurred eyes. And then my mother called to tell me, and I answered her call in tears with, "I already know. Leslie just called me." She felt soooooo bad for me! I am so far from being over this, because I was in the ER for 17 hours and I haven't had time to process it in my own space, without dealing with my own medical trauma (it turns out I have a ventral hernia, which will require surgery). I need time to deal with this loss. I'm devastated on many levels.

Prince was a friend to me without having been there physically. He was as much a part of my childhood and adult life as any of my actual friends. And at this moment, I'm still in every bit of my feelings and don't know when I won't be. Because my guy is GONE.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


There was a time
When I would trek
Far out of my way
To get acceptance from others

I never felt good
About making those trips
Even if I got what I wanted
When I arrived
I soon realized
That all I had to unpack
When I returned to myself
Was a bag of false self-worth
Gained with
Premeditated behavior
And a suitcase
Full of their suspect perceptions

©2016 Charlene E. Green