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Discovery of a Brown Beauty

The reflection in the bathwater always revealed

the chocolate hue of my skin.  Water beaded

upon it like drops of dew on sycamore leaves. 

The water wouldn’t take responsibility for

cleansing my imputed charge.  It pretended

to care by rinsing the dirt away.


As a child, I questioned

why God didn’t leave the red bone in.

I didn’t understand the history that covered

my fledgling bones.  I would rub my hands

across my body and pretend to be anyone else.


Each day, I wanted to tell a fairer story of my skin.

It was not my choice for the touch of deeper earth,

the overspill of melanin; the truth. 


In seclusion, my arms were raised in surrender. 

And it was a sensitivity that caused my retreat.  A feeling

that my brown skin was not good enough, accepting

enough, or beautiful enough.


I submerged my body in the water.  No sound,

just sunlight from the window. 

A baptism that opened my soul

and blessed my brown sugar.


I slowly lifted myself out of the porcelain tub,

weary after the journey that just took place.

My skin felt like a new born baby –


And I,

in the stillness of fogged mirrors and

pulled-down shades,




my brown skin was not a cross to bear,

but a gift.

Copyright @ 2016 by Archuleta Chisolm

Painless Pencils
You are the creator
The origin and instigator
On my bedside table
Several in my purse
A couple in the glove compartment
In the kitchen
And yes, on the dining room table in a black woven cylinder
Your countenance is on my mind
All the time
The way you stare at me
The care that you show
You give life to the dead inside of me
Yet, you remain silent
Your presence gives me the will to make it
I see you in my dreams
In the pleasant ones
And the nightmares too
Either or
So clean and pure
And there you choose to glisten again
All of my inner most thoughts, I share with you
No matter the end
You have awakened the versifier inside
You steal the heart of my paper
So tender and so sweet
Gave birth to the contaminated galaxies
Ones that people will be safe from because of me
So fascinating and so kind
The water from the rock plummeting down
Giving life to purple flowers and blazing suns
Flourished all over
And on the paper you engrave the traces of my soul
The limits of your distress
The freshness of your faith
Painless pencils leaping out and back into
You remember that I am never finished
You wait patiently
And on the paper
You show your soul
So that I can show mine

Copyright @ 2012 by Archuleta Chisolm

One Is Stronger

My representative perched herself outside my bedroom 

each night.  Prayers wouldn’t dissolve her.

Each morning, after we cocooned from our fetal positions,

we gazed at the door that separated us.

She had desired the muse inside of me. 

Yet, I wanted to be liberated.


So, one morning, I opened the door

and proceeded to breathe on my own.

Copyright @ 2016 by Archuleta Chisolm

Clear Conscience

Water is the quintessential cleanse.

It was brought to distill the stench of our transgressions,

purify our sins and cool our hot heads.


There is an abundance of water.

The earth is mostly made of it, yet we don’t indulge.

We are too afraid to let it do its purpose.


We deserve peace, although our lives are complex with struggle. 

We are blessed but can’t see.


Let the water run through it and all the bad stuff washes clean. 

A Poem to Masculinity

I am here.

Acknowledge me and value me.

Seize this moment and be with me.


I am awake and my heart is open.

My femininity is strong, like an unexpected,

cool breeze on a humid day.

You are unmovable as a rock.


In my eyes, you will find my diary.

The soft pages are creased from being broken

and led astray.  They are tear-stained,

no lines, and no words. Yet, your brave fingers

will renew the pages.


You have taken the fear away.

Lead me to delicate patches of grass

underneath powerful trees,

to cottony rooms with giant rays of light;

to fertile journeys with protected opportunities.


Now that you have touched my soul,

you have touched God.

You have anchored faith within me.

It would take a nation to tear it down.

My soul inhabits you.

You are the half that makes me whole.

Copyright @ 2016 by Archuleta Chisolm

Copyright @ 2016 by Archuleta Chisolm

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