1. Don’t stick that seashell to your ear and listen to the waves crashing from your grandma’s bedroom like dark crashes into the light at dawn and his peachy silhouette on the pillar porch, like your heart crashed into his and now he’s gone and you’ll never get him back so you’re a panicky mess.

2. Don’t stick that seashell to your ear; it’ll become a memory you can’t unhear and 30 years from now you’ll be standing in the kitchen making maple-flavored maltomeal for your 9-year-old because you’re out of bacon; and it’ll be dancing in the distance like his fingers danced across your freckled skin and then disappeared, and you’re left paralyzed and wondering if you ever really heard it.

3. Don’t stick that seashell to your ear; it’s like your ancestors are talking to you but all at once, flinging warning shots in the middle of a midlife crisis, bullets filled with anxiety and things you should have done but never did and now you’ll never get the chance to because death is like your best friend’s house that’s just around the corner; you could walk there if you wanted, but you just want to live.

4. Don’t stick that seashell to your ear; it’ll drive you mentally insane with wonder humming a familiar tune like childhood, like your grandmother bringing you midnight lemonade to cure heartburn while you watched the Golden Girls and Patty Duke and curled up in her warm nook of the bed; and her hands, soft as pearls, smoothing back your thin blonde hair with her sacred scarlet ribbon voice; and they’ll all say you’re the lucky one because you had her the longest but now you can’t even remember her scent.

5. Don’t put that seashell to your ear and listen to the waves like the racing lace on the ring of a magic mirror that’s destroyed generations of could-have-beens; because sooner than you’d like it to, it’ll be the only thing you hear and you’ll lay awake at night embracing a solitaire sound that came from a seashell you put to your ear while your grandfather slept in a living room leather reclining chair drinking cold coffee and forgot every name of every street he ever drove and every person he ever knew; he even forgot how to chew.

But I’d bet these monsters in my head he remembered his “seashell” like I’ll remember you.


#fatherless #poetry #poems #iamyourfather #brother #love

at a funeral he mumbles, “I don’t have a father…”
his haunted hallways finally hollowed,
toughed up and tainted by a one-too-many
“fishing, I’ll be there by three” promise
his heavy, tar-stained heart
now plucked vows like bloody strings on a guitar
and crippling “don’t have a dad” darkness;
love, you shouldn’t have to force it
so you left it where he left you–
on the doorstep;
and I wonder what’s worse:
one that’s buried and you never knew
or a fiend with a son he never gave a chance to?

perhaps you can love him once he’s dead

-iekika nikole

Smooth petal-like time
rippled beneath them;
No more barefoot alleyway days
or chicken fights on the log.

It used to be War in the field till the last man was standing,
but now Anchor swings are untangled,
their bench sits untouched,
and the Indian clay is gone.

It was dodging Winston and his strumming guitar,
lazy summers, water balloons, neighborhood hide-and-go-seek.

It was Connect Four & Guess Who?
popsicle sticks, paint fights, and glitter glue;
It was their best $33 a week.

It was rollerblade grinding an orange rack,
hula hoop, Tip It, and hopscotch.
Now Never Ending Alley could fit in his pocket
and Gene’s candy tabs are all paid off.

But for some wayward souls, even life stopped.

like forsaken Rainbow Girl on the wall,
she aches to hear “I play winner,” one last time;
and if you park yourself on Shady Hill long enough,
you’ll feel silent weeping when Mr. Peeing Tree cries.

It was Cyclones vs. Hurricanes,
It was first loves, best friends, family, growth, and pain.

Now it’s the Colonial blood in their veins,
panic-filled and whispering, ”Please remember my name,”
lingering like lost laughter in the back of her brain.

twelve fourteen

4am starry morning
bottle of pink Moscato
between us both
intense conversation
I thought you had reservations
but without warning,
you pulled me in so close

damn you,
why’d you do it?
we’ve both been through it
so I thought you’d be different
than my past
but what the hell did I know?

said you always fall too fast
jumping in when you aren’t ready
you just want a love that lasts
let’s take it nice and steady,

you needed time to stabilize
I needed consistency
still I soaked in every syllable
lost in so-called honest eyes
your endless abyss of lies
so bright I couldn’t see

walking uphill in the dust
your arms around my waist
blindly stumbling on lust
my long-time crush
you were the sweetest taste
my heart knew it was just a waste

yet I fell steep
and deep
and reckless
between each neck kiss
and affectionate caress
wouldn’t be so tough
if our lips had just connected less

whispered white lies
and deceptions
thought we were headed
in identical directions
I hate silent rejection
so loud I can sense it
you regret it
but I can’t forget it

I clung to every word you said
believed you to no end
and now I’m just a part-time person
one of many
stuck in your tangled web…