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Panic Attack

1.It really was the shape of night, 

all mystery at first,

but there was the noise too,

sitting on my chest

until I broke out in sweat, 

and we were alone with the only

choice to cancel the weekend.


2. That was the first year. By the second

year, it was living in a cubicle at work. 

And by the third year, 

 I found a doctor holding my diagnosis

as I walked int...

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Drove down 

             the long stretch

             of a country road 

     with I             and I 

                            we call Memory 

                             in the passenger seat.

            Going back 

             to the house

     where we first met,

     hoping                to send me back.



    known better,    ...

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Me vs. Me

Just when it looks like

I'm making progress,


  I fumble

an hour and             start to         sp  lit 

                                                   (just like that)


and the other                                half

turns pretty                                      ugly

very fast. 


Then it's me vs.                          me

all weekend.


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Sort of a Well Adjusted Adult, part II

I’m shelving books in a springtime

Blouse and high heels,

And life is okay when a patron

Walks towards me until she whispers

“You know, your shirt is on backwards.”

Then life rains on you for awhile. 


Once, a guy wrote how he

Preferred women in their thirties:

“Something about life experiences

That gives them that extra sexiness,”

(As if we are seasoned breasts)


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Baking Soda

Like every mamma, she had her own remedies,

like baking soda

on a canker sore. It doesn’t sound easy,

but it worked; besides, her own

mother (my grandmother, died before

I was born) tried this on her,

"And see? I survived." (Shrug).


Still, I wouldn’t do it by myself.

She had to bend before me

at the bathroom sink, tug

at my lip to expose the ulcer,

milk white ...

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This Closure

*From my poetry collection, All the Words in Between 

The search party found her under

the crunch of autumn oak leaves. Rigor mortis

set in three weeks ago.


she was filed next to Bella in the Witch Elm—

and other mysteries. She’ll adjust to tight spaces

and purgatory silence.

After the autopsy,

even the anchor woman shrugged. Everyone

followed suit, except fo...

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The Stigma

On my fathers side,

They ignored the elephant

On the living room couch

And called it toughness.


This was how they turned



Wife and kids

Into therapy. 


This was how my cousin

Turned a belt into a noose

In his closet.


This was how they called 

my aunt the "bitter black woman" 

stereotype and how they saw

her charge to  dim


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mental illnessmental healthstigma

When the DJ Played “Lovefool” on the First Night of Carnival Season in a New Orleans Nightclub, 2018

*Note: Originally published in 2018's Live Mag! Magazine. 


On the 12th night, we shuffle

under the rotations of a disco ball,

old Halloween decorations,

balloons bobbing on the ceiling

to remind us that the year is only

six days old. I barely survived


the holidays, but the city can be

unforgiving to introverts, pushing us

out of our brick covered shells because


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mardi grasNew Orleansmusic.

The Storyteller

From my poetry collection, "All the Words in Between"


I’m molding into a storyteller with age,

but not without listening to how my mother

watched the world shift and write chapters.

She was working in an office for Bell South,

praying after the Challenger incident;

home, hearing what they found

under Gacy’s house; raising

me while I was too young to know what

was ha...

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In 2002,
it was still controversial
to talk about panic attacks

                   and Prozac.

So I didn’t tell my teacher
of my insecurities.
I just said, “I don’t know”
or              “I forgot”
to escape the times 
she called on me. 

On Thanksgiving, I told
my husband about the time
She called me slow
and she probably forgot by now.
But these days,
I just want to tell her,

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Before I'm Thirty

Twenty-nine is a strange year.


Some nights, I live my 


sliding into a pair of 

peep toe stilettos, 

applying the right shade

of burgundy lipstick

to complement 

the Merlot I'll order 

in the mature calmness of a wine

bar in Uptown. I'll sip daintily

while cross-legged

on a bar stool as jazz night

sings along with his fingers

on the piano on t...

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Ice Skating In New Orleans


My older sister, several other girls

met on the concrete square in our backyard


to test the sheet of ice that wouldn't melt

in rare moments of a "real" winter


in a New Orleans suburb. In 1994, 

they were only in junior high


but seemed so grown up when I was five

and watched how easy it was for them to teach


me how to slide over the slipperiness


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Introvert's Day Off

I packed a suitcase for just myself 
then took a trip to winter months. Found
the key to the bedroom in a snow-crusted corner. 
Flat-lined in a crowded room and had to shake

off the hangover in          
                    empty spaces. 
So mood landed on carpet
and grew dim like a lamp when the flimsy blanket
drapes over the shade to welcome the latest
blast of ice in gray sunset. 

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introvertworksocial anxiety


Those snapshots

follow me into bed, leave me silent as


the afternoon I climbed a tree 

before my grandfather's house, settled

on the strongest branch


to ignore the chaos of a hundred family

members with Black Beauty;


 the pages and bright green leaves

around my head

are what I remember most

and also, how I felt,


how I feel years later 



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