4 Poems by Carla Hayes



This is blues
Right here in this exhale is a black girl holding chaos in her womb
Longing to come home to herself and maybe her father
instead of just Friday through Sunday
When they would give God praise and say bitch in the same sentence
She holds her womb in the evening time
Where she says bitch and I love you Lord but her heart beats just the same
From her wounds came poetry
Memories pocket themselves in the pink purse of her hearts walls
She’s got crumbs in the bottom of her bag, and it would take
all day to tell you every memory it was linked to
When her daddy was like her boyfriend
He didn’t call unless fire rolled off of his tongue
She smells the smoke of his lungs through the receiver
Clinging to when she was five and he told her that he loved her
Did he ever tell her she was beautiful?
She remembered his arms on 87th and Dante
Cookies and construction boots in his hands
Her mama yells “Damn it, stop giving my baby dem sweets!”
A chronicle frequently told at 1:00 A.M.
Her breasts are full, and he rests his heavy head there every moon
He lost his mother at the age of sixteen, a piece of his soul she took with her
He had not known how to treat a woman ever since.



We dance where there is no time
Where the only rhythm we dance to is the sound of beating hearts
Two souls two-stepping in rain puddles until our feet were made holy
You dared to walk on the hollow grounds of my soul where lilies bloom amongst weeds
I’ve sat under this weeping willow since 1996
You lay under the sycamore tree, whispering prayers to the sky
as the branches raised their hands to Jah in praise.
You pray that one day our roots would conjoin
For we are born of the same soil, the same pain
Although your lips have not exposed the secrets
that hide behind your smile, I long to seek them
Our hands are broken, yet we will build
We are like children
We fall in love, scrape our knees…you kiss my wounds
I apply an unguent to yours
Then we continue to run until the sun catches us
Until our souls bursts into eternity.



There are stories in the cracks of my palms
A tale unfolds
Every sunrise, every breath scripted onto the pages
Some are crumpled and torn
Ink runs off of the pages
Into a river beget by my tears
I float on my back
Just to remember
I remember my father and my mother
A little girl from the south side who wore pigtails upheld by innocence
She also grew to shun her own existence
She finds herself in the palms of God
The same hands who wrote her story
From the genesis and knows her revelation
Etching out her mistakes with water and blood
Healing her brokenness
He calls her whole



I cried out to God, and he did not answer me
I long for the day freedom lingers in my limbs
Where freedom is a song escaping my throat
like the Israelites avoidance of Egypt.
I am Pharaoh, entrapping myself in the thickets of my flesh.
Sometimes unwilling to let my own self go.
I roam in the desert forty days and forty nights
My lower nature crawls its way up my spine,
begging to rule and reign in every fiber of my being
Every breath becomes wasted by past experiences I cannot seem to forget
I wade in oceans to deep for me to swim,
swallowed by the currents of my own mind
I want to be like the birds,
where they know of nothing but the wind that carries them
Whether it be day or night in my soul, I long to take flight
I pray one day the sky catches me
I cried out to God, and he did not answer me,
maybe he is teaching me how to fly.

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Carla Hayes hails from the south side of Chicago where she was born and raised. She has been writing poetry since the age of twelve, and the older she became the more she began to invest in her craft. Carla has participated in contests and has walked away with winning titles in her high school years, performing in many different settings in Illinois and out of state. She has published two books of poetry entitled The Flowers In Her Mind and her most recent work Blood and Bone, with more features in works by other authors. She hopes to not only publish poetry, but novels, fiction and non-fiction projects, self-help books and scholarly articles. It is her passion to change the world and make an impact through her art, for she knows that art has surely changed her for the better.




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Back to Issue 1 of the Fresh Ink Anthology