Routine

With school back in session, the coffee shop was the fullest it had been all summer. Rhonda and Katy sat at a table by the window. One with black coffee; the other, sugar and cream. One with a dry, overbaked scone with blueberries that looked like raisins; the other, a bagel and cream cheese.

Katy looked like a pinned up first-time professor in a short-sleeved red coat dress and wedged heels. Rhonda looked the most out of place in her ripped baggy jeans and “not a hugger” t-shirt, a pair that was in the dirty hamper that morning, but still smelled alright.

“It’s not fair,” Rhonda said shaking her head, and then again, “it’s just not fair.” She put her phone face down on the table.

“You know, marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

“How would you know? You’re a closeted lesbian.”

“I kissed a girl once, and I was in high school!”

“I’ve never seen you with a guy, Katy. Ever!”

“That’s because I don’t need a man to make me happy.” She folded her arms across her chest and turned her nose up to the ceiling.

“Well, I do.” Rhonda bit into her blueberry scone. Crumbs collected around the corners of her mouth, but she didn’t bother to wipe them away.

“You set feminism back 50 years.”

“Bite me.”

“You know, Rhon, you might find a guy worth marrying if you stopped acting like you were still 20 years old.”

“We can’t all be perfect like you, Katy.”

“I’m not perfect, I just…” Katy paused, looking at the straggly ends of Rhonda’s dirty blonde hair grazing the edge of her styrofoam cup, almost dipping into the coffee. With an audible sigh, Katy added, “When’s the last time you washed your hair?”

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“Treat me like I’m a lost cause.”

“I’m not, I just—” Katy snatched the phone away before Rhonda could turn it over and continue to brood over the lastest Facebook engagement announcement.

“I wish people would be more real on social media,” she said while tapping her fingers on Rhonda’s screen. “All we see are these happy, perfect relationships, with their perfect hair, and perfect makeup and perfect engagement rings, and perfect in-laws who love them like family. People are innately selfish, and relationships are hard. Where’s the messy fights? The hitting below the belt? Bringing up past infidelity? Passive-aggressive status updates about mamas’ boys, and coddling mothers-in-law?”

“They usually post them in the middle of the night and delete them after an hour.” Rhonda belched into her fist then brought the coffee to her lips, sipping loudly.

“Why do I feel like you’ve done that before?” Looking over Rhonda’s disheveled appearance, Katy questioned, “Why do I feel like you did that last night?”

“Because, Katy,” she hung her head, as if a weight was sitting on the back of her neck, and looked up at Katy, barely raising her eyes past her chin. “I’m self-destructive. Obviously why I’m still single.”

“Aw don’t say that.you just haven’t met the—”

“Save it for your book!” Rhonda stood suddenly, nearly jumping from her chair, hair fraying. “I’m gonna go to the bathroom.”

Probably to throw up, she thought to herself. On her way, she caught the eye of the barista behind the counter. Definitely a freshman. Definitely too damn young for her. But that was definitely his number he’d written on the bottom edge of her coffee cup.

And definitely, if she was that desperate (she was), and drunk enough (she will be), a late-night booty she’ll regret later.

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#ThrowbackThursday Poetry: No Weapon

“Behold, I have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the spoiler to destroy. No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord.
Isaiah 54:16-17, NKJV

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

God made dirt, dirt don’t hurt.
The blind blessing we recited
as children over spilled food
on the dirty linoleum before
placing it back in our mouths,
swallowing with the confidence
that because God made it,
we cannot die.

But did God not create man,
and does he not hurt me
every day? From his heart
brews my downfall.
Date rape—
White supremacy—
Mass shootings—
A black, bitter coffee
he drinks with grit,
though it’s still boiling.

Shall I eat this bread
retrieved from a floor
on which a murderer may tread,
dragging my family and me
in a trail of blood behind?
God made him, right?
He cannot hurt us.


A revised version of the untitled original poem published February 4, 2015…may revise again later.

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Zeal (#AtoZChallenge #LovePoetry)

Zeal

I’ll never tire
of hearing you say it—each
morning, knowing you’re mine

2019© Nortina Simmons

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Yes (#AtoZChallenge #LovePoetry)

Yes

You had your answer
before you dropped to one knee,
flashed the ring, asked the question

2019© Nortina Simmons

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Xerophilous (#AtoZChallenge #LovePoetry)

Xerophilous

Run away with me—
to the arid, dry terrain—
hop on back of my
motorcycle, I will show
you the world they keep hidden

2019© Nortina Simmons


xerophilous (adj) – thriving in a very dry environment

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Wish (#AtoZChallenge #LovePoetry)

Wish

Two years ago, I
dreamt of romance, adventure,
of chasing a love
across the world—two years I
dreamt—who’d have thought it’d come true

2019© Nortina Simmons

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Virgo (#AtoZChallenge #LovePoetry)

Virgo

You’re so beautiful
in the moonlight—the stars and
constellations can’t compare

2019© Nortina Simmons

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Unconditional (#AtoZChallenge #LovePoetry)

Unconditional

At night, while you sleep,
I count stars to measure my
love for you—I’m still counting

2019© Nortina Simmons

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Together (#AtoZChallenge #LovePoetry)

Together

My cherry blossom,
come seal our love with a kiss,
and I promise to
love, cherish, respect, honor
you until my dying breath

2019© Nortina Simmons

A Kiss in Your Pocket: Showers (#AtoZChallenge #LovePoetry)

Showers

April showers bring
May flowers—by the window,
I wait for peonies,
peach roses, a white tulle dress,
a kiss from you down the aisle

2019© Nortina Simmons