Art by Neville Dsouza

This why your man want me.
Cuz my value ain’t built
on what can be bought.
It’s built on my worth.
It can’t be traded
And It can’t be taught

You don’t like yourself
That confidence
You get from the liquor
I get when I look in the mirror
I don’t need poison
to lift my spirit
I don’t need to be deluded [diluted]
To see myself clearer

I design myself in these letters
and define myself with these words
I shape myself in complete thoughts
And when I speak what I write
You listen
Trying to see
What you heard

You don’t believe I am all that I am
How could my strength be true
When you have to buy everything
That makes you, you

Although I’ve been forged in fires
I don’t burn
I don’t waste to ashes
I don’t turn to dust
I sinter
From clay to ceramic
Until my worth is earned.

All Spice

See I was wit a nigga who wanted to mute me
Silence me
Keep me quiet
Blur my identity

I was too loud, too strong, too black, too big
and too comfortable being who I was
I needed to be muddled
reminded to be a lady
corrected in my steps
I couldn’t make dirty jokes
Poke fun at his mistakes
Own my past OR
Acknowledge my failures 

He was stuck in shame
Male Fragility
So, I had to join him
I had to walk under his cloud of insecurity
My happy face couldn’t brighten his day
I had to live in his sadness
He kept holding me standards he’d never even meet
I was too much of me but never enough of what I should be

I tried to run the mile
Jump the wall
Dot the I’s
And cross the T’s
But I was never really good at editing
I was RAW, AUTHENTIC, ORIGINAL, exactly who I wanted to be.
I only knew how to live by my passions
Not by the rules of regurgitated copies.
So, I had to leave.

I could no longer compromise the salt of who I was
For the way he tried to season me
I could only live like spice that comes with good things
See I’m like garlic, ginger, turmeric and chillis
I will burn your tongue
Strike your senses
AND heal your body

I am not bread to be dipped in oil
or spread with butter
I am not white, starchy or bland
I am cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and nutmeg
I am the all spice you add to your pie
because without me
you’re just apples, butter and crusty
and that’s pretty fucking lame

So stop diluting my flavor with watered down expectations
My nigga, I am not flour, yeast and eggs