Elegy for a False Sense of Security

Tell me how you entered this poem, how you even got in
here. Where my parentals come from is where I’m coming from
and where where I’m coming from is from we lock the front door
and the back and the side and can’t spare a single extra key. Where
where I’m coming from is from we shut all the windows tight like
our eyes to an ugly view: a jail if I ever saw one, and maybe I did,
and maybe that was enough for me. Maybe you made the mistake,
by coming here. Unannounced. Uninvited. It takes a lot of talent
to step in someone’s crib and be welcomed without any alarms
going off, so shake your ass something dangerous if you can,
sing me a song real sexy-like or be suck out of luck if I feel
like shooting strangers today. If home is where the heart is
then four red bullet wounds across the chest of the city’s flag
say everything there is about my feelings toward you and
the whole damn world right now. Because it was my own
blood this time and yet I’m still here, and the funny thing
about that town and this one is that they both burned down
once. And down the hall they’re burning bud and I want some
kinda sorta but without the friends. Which makes you foe,
I suppose, as if you are the presence of all colors and I am
the absence of said colors. But maybe I got it backwards,
twisted it all up. It just hurts to have my hair pulled even if
it’s by my own hand. My mind is spinning blanks inside every
chamber; everywhere I turn on the TV they’re shooting boys
like what I used to be before I wasn’t anymore and when did that
happen? And what am I now? Are you the phantom or me, me
or none of the above? The last shadow I cast on a sunny Sunday
stole my wallet and bought this gun and all the rounds and all
the rounds at the bar, too. Where I’m coming from, when in love:
squeeze. When lonely, loan yourself some time and don’t pay it
back. Beware, because I’m both lonely and in love like the living
embodiment of the code switch. I’m polluted air and poisoned water
and whatever else they say except when I say I’m not and I’m not
one to play for a fool for the record. Fear me. I’m godly and I’m just
and just get the hell out demon and do come again. Come again:
it’s my igneous ire toward you that keeps me a live wire, and alive.

More Poems by Cortney Lamar Charleston