I be cryin’ in the dark and in broad daylight
over fondled feelings, forgiveness and tired.
Cheeks wet with lack of understanding.
My drive for purpose and identity strapped around my ankles.
Be standing with all the tools to build path and glory
without the finances to afford the land.
Motherhood slipping through the cracks of my fingers on repeat.
Cause my blood don’t seem like my blood,
and the rest of them left my womb too early
like can’t nothin’ else beautiful grow there.
I be cryin’ in the dark and in broad daylight
trying to dig life out of all this death around me.
But I’m triggered in this heavy, so I paint it pretty.
Put it in poems and photographs.
That’s how I escape the world without leaving.
Although I am spent and famished on days when the cracks are wide.
Days when my emotions are abruptly palpable
looking back at me in the mirror with martyr on their breath.
Their warning to let me know when the monsters are coming for a visit
to move furniture around in my mind and in my joy.
The monsters show up with bloody teeth and uninvited in their spite.
And I just I be cryin’ in the dark and in broad daylight.
Here's to the black gurl from the middle of nowhere making a place for herself in this world. For the way she pull them smiles 𝚘𝚞𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚞𝚍.
➖She got some shit wit her➖
An energy that defies gravity and defining.
They just know that it's IT.
Some love it, some fear it,
others despise it.
But, they can't stop watching
as she sets the stage.
An animated still shot of
survival and joy, sexuality and rage.
As I walk into a new decade living with HIV, there is no sadness. Today has been more like celebration coupled with transition.
This past year has been a random collection of Ls and wins. But above it all is the death of my oldest brother, Ty, that happened almost 5 months ago. This grief has been a strange place. Strange because I always thought I would be the first of my siblings to go for a few reasons but being HIV-positive was at the top of the list. A noose around my neck smelling of strange and fruit.
But somewhere along the way, living became a priority. This happened while I was already involved in my advocacy journey and standing on stages gift wrapping my insecurities for strangers to martyr. I was trying to save them when I had no idea how to save myself or if I actually WANTED to be saved.
The change came suddenly and quietly. Survival no longer took precedent over living and thriving. They merged into a different type of growth and freedom. A flex, of sorts, that touched heart, mind, p'sy and soul. I hit a throttle with my version of the Black Gurl 𝙞𝙣𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙨 on my tongue. And today I threw my head back in joy and released the laughter of a mad woman. A sound and emotion that's been trapped in my chest for over a year now. Loosely translated, it sounds like: "𝙸 𝚌𝚊𝚗𝚝 𝚋𝚎𝚕𝚒𝚎𝚟𝚎 𝙸 𝚍𝚒𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚙𝚎𝚝𝚝𝚢 𝚜𝚑𝚒𝚝. 𝙸 𝚌𝚊𝚗'𝚝 𝚋𝚎𝚕𝚒𝚎𝚟𝚎 𝙸 𝚖𝚊𝚍𝚎 𝚒𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚏𝚊𝚛. 𝙱𝚒𝚒𝚒𝚒𝚒𝚒𝚒𝚒𝚒𝚑 ."
So, today ...
12.30.2020... Here's to Black Gurl and her 10 years. A decade. Living HIV-positive.
I'm still kickin and screamin. Shit talkin to the sky. I'm UNDETECTABLE. I'm here. Jus A Brown-Black Gurl From Nowhere Doin Thangs.
And I shall stay on thy necks and I shall continue to apply THAT PRESSURE.
What a life... 🖤
➖Melanie YeYo Carter ➖
#livingwithHIV #advocacy #KnowYourStatus #Undetectable #melanieyeyocarter #yeyodapoet #smallvictoriesofagiant #anticsofapoet #diaryofadayumpoet #theMYCmovement #RespectThaVibe
Orchestrated fire at the hem of my slip
This burning is masterpiece
Savage and sonnet in its soot-
Don't touch me because I'll linger in your bones
They will smell me all over you
My bitter and sweet becoming ghost on your lips
Haunting your attempts at relationships
Giving other women faults that look like me
Why you make altar of my memory?
Couldn't even praise-love me when my mouth and spirit held you
Ain't you contradiction and hypocritical?
Had to feel the frost to appreciate the fire
Had to walk to appreciate how I lifted you
how I taught you flight in a world heavy with gravity
Blood all on the concrete calling and claiming new bodies
But you mistreated the shelter and sky in me
Now you out there,
cold world at yo neck
Yearning for savage,
But my slip don't even fit you any more
I got this glasshouse of a heart that I put into poems and photographs.
Strangers have watched me break and gather myself
with a mirror glued between my fingers
no matter how grotesque and brutal the reflection.
My heart is Frankenstein's monster.
Most days, I'm not sure if I'm Victor or victim.
Most nights, I'm animated by some unknown spark
that projects this fire, confined like unborn, in my belly.
I give things openly that people never asked for,
but I don't need their permission to exist.
I never said they ʜᴀᴅ to watch.
But most people can't walk by a glasshouse without looking in.
Even if it's merely to criticize it for being glass in the first place.
Anything transparent, broken and beautiful makes them uncomfortable.
--Melanie YeYo Carter
Full room and I was movin’ through the crowd with
I ate twice before I came energy
I left the worries outside next to old insecurities
smokin a blunt so they could get their shit together
I was spilling black woman all ova everybody’s space
The gutta-walk was sickening
Sex appeal and wet on 10
with no outlet worthy enough to get this wet wet
this Soul Snatcha
this baby-nectar-voodoo shit
Until it found safe ghosting on an old lover’s lips
Occasionally, full circle occurs unexpectedly
And it ain’t always pretty or docile
It can brew like quiet before storm in a catacomb of emotion
or in a backseat brimming with exposed bodies full of everything
Air full of blood words and torture tactics
that sound like “pull my hair and slap my ass… again… again”
There are no lies, just skin
No “I love yous” because it didn’t work the first time,
and, at this point, songs are the only thing in this life worth the repeat
And it ain’t that I don’t feel the love anymore-
I just know it’s not enough
I just know it doesn’t taste the same
But, my God, how we can still find each other’s spots in the dark
make beautiful orgasms of an unexplained connection
I still think our children would have been southern classics
with machetes for mouths and sky skin of unmuted melodies
addicted to feeling
addicted to people
and overly passionate about shit like lines and lyrics
and love stories that don’t resemble war
But, those are just thoughts
with no what ifs attached
Our possibilities were gutted and eulogized
somewhere between the second and third girlfriend you chose
that wasn’t me
Somewhere in the miscommunication where I was hurt
and you were angry
and we were both some stubborn ass glassblowers
who forgot our Eden and our apple
But, we can still taste it
Still feel it between our teeth like gravity
Reminding us that we messed up the love
but we’ve always known how to f’k each other like porn stars
Like joy growing through bloody concrete
So, we split each other open
And I walked away spilling black woman all ova yo shit
My gutta-walk was sickening
And I held no regrets--
Melanie YeYo Carter
15 minutes. Approximately 15 min.
That's how long I've been sitting in front of a blank page attempting to determine the approach I will take while writing about the 8th anniversary of my HIV-positive diagnosis.
I'm normally a "sleep in" type of person, but today, I've been awake since 8:30 am. For the first time in years, the arrival of this date didn't keep me from sleeping last night. I wasn't cloaked in trepidation. There was no kryptonite on my chest depleting my super powers or my breathing. Untraditionally, I was peaceful.
Yet, this morning, my reality was unavoidable. I, Melanie YeYo Carter, am HIV-positive. I'm my mother and father's daughter. I am HIV-positive. I have a 12-year-old daughter. I am HIV-positive. I have a beautiful woman and fiancé in my life. I am HIV-positive.
I am a poet. I am a Spoken Word Artist. I am a college student. I am a best friend. I am a friend. I am a sister. I am an auntie. I am a writer. I am bipolar with PTSD. I am a rape survivor. I am an abuse survivor. I am a black woman. I am a black lesbian. I am HIV-positive.
I am alive. Unlike some others, I will not diminish the gravity of my own situation with the carbon copy phrase “HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence anymore”. I understand the medical advancements that have been made towards minimizing the effects of the illness and to improve the quality of life of those living with the illness. This acknowledgment is a reflection of my logic, but the most intricate human parts of me find no comfort in “it’s not a death sentence”. To know that my blood is my enemy is repetitiously unnerving.
On the difficult days, if I let it, my mind would convince me that I can feel the disease replicating itself. Each copy of HIV, a blow to the skin that binds it. Occasionally, this thought is so loud that it synchronizes with my heartbeat. During these times, I imagine my white blood cells as Spartans, and HIV is an invasion. Perhaps I deem this 300 analogy fitting because the hero still dies in the end. Perhaps the lesson in this 300 analogy is King Leonidas didn’t allow the possibility of death to deter him. Shit, I’ve always said that I am not waiting to die. Death will have to come find me.
I have been living openly and honestly with this illness for 8 years. 8 years of needle sticks and blood and fear and laughter and crying and perseverance and advocacy and determination and mental hospital admissions and memories and letting go and holding on and “fuck forgiveness” and love poems and lesbian-black-girl shenanigans and I feel beautiful and don’t look at me and 2 fist fights because they said “you’re dying slow anyway” and “that’s why you got that shit” and learning that living is more than survival. 8 years later, and I’m doing so many of the things I thought I would never get the opportunity to do.
If ever I’m asked what my greatest accomplishment was, my answer will be simple: I lived when life, my past and humanity said I couldn’t. I lived it, and I survived. I survived it, and I lived.
Last year, I wrote a list of my thoughts concerning my diagnosis date. I’m going to share them again because they are still extremely relevant.
🔹RANDOM THOUGHTS AT MY 7 YEAR HIV+ MARK IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER🔹
For those of you who took the time to read me, thank you. Today, I will be creating new memories. Today, I will let that shit be glorious.
Melanie YeYo Carter
This is a single from my upcoming Spoken Word project titled "Machete Grace". RESPECT AND LOVE.
So, I forced myself to live today
Every breath pushed out in an unnatural birth of rhythm
Each, a calculated approach to survival
Each one, stretching out to the universe with conviction
Just hoping someone or something would reach back
Would help me hold all of this falling apart together
Every exhale released an invisible cloud of sorrow around me
I was walking enveloped in a storm
Flooded Drowned Drenched down to my core,
And no one even noticed
No one noticed how my smile didn’t reach my eyes
That it was merely painted on, and I was Mona Lisa
There is an art form in holding your shit together
A gentle stroke here, and a hard stroke there
And if you angle your strength just right in the light,
People will assume your smile comes easy
That it is without sorrow
Without scream imprisoned behind it
They will not see the force nor the effort it takes to do something so natural
To inhale exhale
So, today, I forced myself to live
Today, I was a magician
A work of art and an artist
And in the right light,
My smile looked easy
"I am a LIFE REPORTER, but for short, you can simply call me a poet."