dain saint art and activism for an abundant society

these truths i have been afraid to speak

A collection of poems and stories on race, relationships, and toxic masculinity
dainsaint.com/these-truths/

Project Status

Complete, seeking publication. Interested in publishing this collection?

“it was part of my therapy,” he began, apologetically. but for my birthday, i wanted to get past viewing my body as a purely utilitarian thing and begin seeing it as something to enjoy, something to celebrate—something more than just what it could do.

 

contents

last night was mlk
soup
the wind
stopwatch

last night was mlk

part of these truths i have been afraid to speak

last night was mlk
last night i had a dream
this morning had a nightmare
that my dream was yet unseen
i hear voices in my heart
i dont know what they mean
but i understand the truth
yes i understand the scene

yes i understand the amazon
understand that Amazon
understand the ancient days of planning in advance are gone
understand the bassline in the back of my dreamlands are gone
take my hand and show me that the days of my romance are gone

woke up with a bassline that i sold to comcast for a dime
heard them play it back to me online for dollar ninety-nine
sickness in my chest is back
sickness in my heart is black
black is not the sickness its the witness to the sickness
its the nurse the judge the jury
but this jury's hung with fury

last night was mlk
last night i had a dream
this morning had a nightmare
that i was too blind to see
the sickness in my chest that says i am too old too weak
the sickness in my mind that says to wake up to defeat
but who wants to stay woke when i can dream

put me on repeat
put me on instagram
put me inside another box
to make all your demands
the voices in my head are back
voices in my head are black
saul and james and all the names
that spilled their ink up on this track

now i'm flowing mentally
think environmentally
penmanship is dying my handwriting aint whats meant to be
but chicken scratch is braver than the ascii that i labor with
and labor is the saviour that has left its marx on all our kids
kids in gig economies
kids that love astrology
kids make no apologies
these kids that love technology
now im not from the streets i took a lyft to where i got to be
i'm still another box to tick five stars up my the profit sheet
i was once a—i was once a—prophet with a scholarship
trade it all for twenty days on mescaline if dr king acknowledge it

last night was mlk
last night i had a dream
this morning woke up got a pen
to find out what it mean
"open up your mind too far no telling what will take its place"
"do whatever you want son, just be a credit to your race"
man i cried myself to sleep
and i woke up with a scream
cause wants to stay woke when i can dream

soup

part of these truths i have been afraid to speak

chicken
carrots and pumpkin
yam and chocho and green banana
a handful of allspice

and a scotch bonnet pepper
hot enough to remind you
you are strong enough
to swallow the sun

do we have enough thyme i wonder
watching my mother skim the fat
as i wait to drink a soup
thick enough to plant a flag in

she is humming something long forgotten
a song she was taught by a spirit in a dream
she says one day the spirits will find me
if they havent already
i wonder if i will know how to hear them

i make the same soup now
i know now that
the chickens are asian
and the yam is african
and the pepper is caribbean
and the chocho is south american
and the spices are indian
and yet they form one dish
that has to check other
on the census

people ask for my recipe
as if they plan to open a restaurant
people ask where i am from
and hear not here when i say everywhere
people ask what i am
i say i am what i eat

because i learned long ago
if you have to ask for a recipe
then sweet child
you dont know how to cook
dont know how to listen to the food
dont know how to hear the spirits
sizzling
and spitting
and asking for ginger

so tek yuh spoon
out a mi bowl

the wind

part of these truths i have been afraid to speak

1.
the word spirit
means
to breathe


2.
i once believed
i could control the wind

when i was a boy
i put out my hand
the wind took it in hers
and we ran wild together

when i ran she would
  fill the kite of my back
when i leapt she would
  make gravity a suggestion
when i cried she would
  turn it to rain

at home
the yelling was bad
but the silence was worse
so when i needed to escape
i would climb my favourite tree
where i could dance with her in the branches
falling upwards into her deepest sky

the wind whispered in my ear
  and told me where to go
i whispered back to her
  and told her where she had sent me

she was angry one day
i saw how she darkened the sky
but there was no room in our house
for her emotions
  i had to lock her out
    i had no choice
her tears poured and
my hand reached out and
the window was in reach and
the hairs on my body stood on end and

her

lightning

struck

she punched me in the chest with thunder
knocked the wind right out of me
knocked me clean away from where
her sorrow could hurt me

i understood
it wasn't the first time someone had
hit me
  to protect me
hit me
  to teach me
hit me
  to control me

my voice had been so small
i thought if i could hear the wind
in the smallest whisper
i shouldnt have to raise my voice
to be heard
but no one could hear her
and so
no one could hear me

so when she struck me
i knew she controlled me
and i knew
i had no one
left

i had to protect myself
i knew she owned me
had signed her name on my windpipe
so i voided our contract
twisted my throat shut
and watched in the mirror
  as my vision
    went
      black


3.
i still dont remember waking up
she had blown the memory away
she didnt want me to know
it was she who had saved me
even though the howl she left
where a memory had been
could only be hers

but now I knew
  she had made a home in my lungs
but now i knew
  she needed me more than i needed her
but now i knew
  she loved me more than i loved myself
but now i knew
  that i controlled her

i was powerful
i would play my music
  and she would dance for me
i would grab her hand
  and pull her to where i wanted to go
when she opened her sky in rage
i would stand firm
  and bathe
  in her tears

i knew was undeserving
  why did i say control?
i knew was uncivilized
  why did i say her?

i feared that a grown man who believed he could
control the winds
would be controlled himself
locked in a padded cell
so far away from the wind
that a window would appear
a tombstone

i had seen how this world treats
those who can touch the spirits
the only spirits we are allowed to touch
are stuffed into a bottle
and poured out
wish by wish

i had to let her go
  so she became it
became nothing more than a
  high pressure system
life became nothing more than a
  high pressure system
these checks
and bills
and debts
and wills
and friends
and lovers
became nothing more than a
  high pressure system

sometimes we would pass each other
in the street
i would see her playing
  in a corner
making dna spirals out of dead leaves
  making life out of death
while i was
  living life out of breath

drowning in a sea of oxygen
dying of thirst for want of a glass

without her i had to learn how to breathe on my own
when all i ever wanted
was to fall upwards
once more
into her
endless
sky


4.
last week i saw her in the park
she was playing with a child's balloon
caressing a child's face
tossing a child's hair
and before i could stop myself
i said
hello

she looked up and
she smiled and
she ran over to me and
she held me and
she kissed me and
she said
i've missed you
and i finally realised

i never controlled the wind
  the wind never controlled me
it was never about control
  in the first place

stopwatch

part of these truths i have been afraid to speak

y'all tryna live forever
ain't even usin
the life you still got