Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 1



Alprentice X Aries


Towards the Edge of Something

It was my very own
Edge of something
The salt water scraped the barnacles
Scraped them away from my tirelessly bored soul

I was beautifully adrift and exhausted
By the strange unfamiliar winds that pushed
Then pulled me towards lack of communication typhoons of ignorance
And solitudes shameless blissful crashing waves

Confused by my thoughts sextant
However… still searching for a star to guide me
To usher me to any shallow shores edge

My sailboat of imperfect imperfection
Now floats a slow and steady pace
A triangle of loss in my minds sea

Tidal waves and olive branches
White navigating doves and black seasick ravens

Sacred words vowed and pledged
Soap box unsteady planks that crack and bend tides in my head

Yes… this heartless ocean
Leaves me bruised
Burned and tossed away
Tossed from heaven and castaway
To a…
Black rivers edge




Tempting Onyx

My mother tells me to keep hope alive
Tells me...keep tempting onyx
Keep believing that there's good
In them white and black folks

My japanese idiot box tries to sell me believing
It sits me down to have a bite
So I chew slowly
I try not to choke on it when I have to swallow

The baptist church is preaching and keeps on believing
The choir keeps singing we shall overcome
They sing...heavens just around the bend
And every other optimistic rhyme and hymn that ends in hallelujah and amen

A nun of worship dressed in black
Looks out the abbey window and starts recollecting
Crying and wondering
She tries to forget but not forget
Where the hell has God been

I too look out and see
The blood decorated streets
I too see the police police the laws down to a beat down the block
I'm just trying to get paid
Maybe a little something at the table to eat

I don't walk on water
But I do walk on land
I am designed by perfection
I am a just...a tempting onyx original black man




Bye My Blackness

My blackness is being tarnished by my black skin color
By my blackness
I am not respected by any means
When by every means I choose to demand to be respected
By my blackness
My blackness is in jeopardy
If I pursue my right to stand upright and not defer my self respect
To some low level social bigoted whispered conversations
Quietly spoken over espresso and cheap cheese danish blossomed by my skin color
Sprung to life in water cooler gossip and university’s luncheonettes food fights
My blackness is left from and left out of those speaking engagements
By my blackness
My blackness stands out in sunless pale social circles
It gives way to skepticism...hate...and undercooked red meat
Ladled out tasteless meat sauce at employee christmas parties that offer
Various looks of wonder and amazement when chicken kabobs are passed
Passed around to the left and stockings full of coal faces I see
When I reject the barnyard pimp on canes and greasy fingers and shiny lips
When on this day I back away from stereotype hors’ d’oeuvres
That never fill my belly...never satisfy me
By my blackness
My blackness is seated next to kitchen doors and restroom hallways
And always in view of accepted culture...proper english and Brooks Brothers suits
I will not sit in the back row in American history
I won't tie my arm and voice down
But I will raise both when confronted with lies and misconceptions
Forgotten pages and facts about me...my kind
And the history of my blackness
By my blackness
My blackness is divvied out polluted air
And when I’ve had my allotted amount
My air is subtracted violently from my singing box
Silenced by red white and blue jackasses and pachyderms that tread
Tread and stomp on my blackness
My peace and harmony is taken swiftly from my blackness
But…
By my blackness
I wont allow elite spectors and poppets to blow powder in my eyes
I will not allow their clouds to blind the view that I bare witness too
I won't throw salt over my shoulder
I will not welcome ignorant possession by lying ghost with evil track records
That even hell has closed the door upon

By my blackness

I will never fear
By my blackness
Your lies I hear
By my blackness
To my heart I hold dear
That
By my blackness
From me you will never hear
BYE MY BLACKNESS



Alprentice X Aries: “I am from Ann Arbor, Michigan and am currently studying creative writing and literature in San Diego working towards my MFA in creative writing and poetry. I have been published in several journals such as The Elevation Review, The Bangalore Review, City Works Journal and USC's Social Justice Journal to name a few. I am a lover of all things art and music.”




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