July 24, 2013

Deonte Osayande

Stand Up Until the Guns Stop

We stand here ready to battle to the death
in the living room of my home. I'm armed
and you are loaded with only the claws
that a squirrel could have. I know it's you.
We first met when I was shoveling snow
a day ago. You were digging for your nuts.

The woman upstairs screaming in fear of you,
my mother, days before looked her best friend
in the eye as she told her she fears I will never marry.
Her friend wonders why, while my mother looks at me
in a way saying she has seen me love a lot of broken.
In that moment I felt as if I were a cracking field of ice.

I've always been an ice cube inside of an oven,
failing at keeping cool. My temper has died down
but winning over the approval of others has never been
a point of success. Once I flirted with a girl by mentioning
that cows have best friends and they become seriously stressed
when they don't see each other for long periods of time.
Not a great way to reveal insecurities while eating steak.

So why tell this to a random animal that has broken into my home?
Last night in my headphones I was listening to stand up comedians
while the neighbors turned our street into guerrilla warfare.
I laughed until the bullets stopped, a peaceful madness of sorts.

Here you are, a fellow survivor of their guns, but a trespasser no less.
The violence no longer startles us like the thirtieth time you've seen
the jerk of neck from an Alabama tree, and we're from there. You
are making my mother jump like the first time my mother witnessed
a weapon. One of us has to go, and I believe I was in this home first.


Deonte Osayande is from Detroit. He is a former track and field sprinter turned teacher. In his spare time he enjoys producing electronic music and traveling.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Deonte Osayande
Most moving and unnerving poem I've read in many moons. Would like to read more. Best, Hattie