I’ve noted your
folded the note
Into an origami
sealed it in an
labeled it “urgent”
and filed it away
In my memory bank


I’d be happy to
retrieve it
for you tomorrow,
should you
need it again
or should I,
for once,
to give a fuck.

(c)2009 Rhonda Lee Richoux


A Conspiracy of Silence

(spoken word poem- so you

might not get the same effect

from the written word)


This is not about you

This is about me

A woman exposed

To things unspeakable

A woman deposed

From things you make


Dealing with young minds

Your dogma makes unteachable

Dealing with your religion of violence

This is about me

Being victim to you

In a conspiracy of silence

This is not about you

This is about me

Whose brown skin accepted

Touches from loving men

Who calmed, protected, respected

And never rejected the

Unconditional love of

The girl child I was

But a man hiding behind the

Apron of a beaten, broken wife

Twisted evil fingers

Into my softness like a knife

He changed my mind forever

About the meaning of a man

I’d like to change it back again;

I try, but never can

I cried and kept my mouth shut

Finding no female alliance

While my childhood died, unnoticed

In a conspiracy of silence

This is not about you

This is about me

Being sick of mother fuckers

Getting rich and flashing grillz

Talking trash and popping pills

Shooting up shit and

Shooting up the ‘hood

Smoking the competition

And smoking the latest edition

Of drugs bought with the proceeds

Of careers on the road to perdition

Disrespecting my black sisters

My white sisters

My brown sisters

And ME

You’ll let us go on a shopping spree

But you’ll never consent to set us free

Watch us writhe to the gangsta beat

Watch us back up like bitches in heat

As we shake our behinds

As we give up our minds

As we smile and pretend

It won’t matter in the end

If you pamper and spend

We can break, bruise and bend

And perpetuate the violence

In a conspiracy of silence

This is not about you,

This is about me

Watching my sisters die

Because of that one, last, fatal blow

Watching my sisters die

Because her man was on the down-low

And she didn’t want to know

And he didn’t spell it out

Because it just ain’t talked about

My sister didn’t want to see

My sister took his HIV

I’m sick of a culture that hurts and degrades

I’m pissed when a sister dies needlessly of AIDS

Because you’re too chicken-shit to be who you are

Because you carry the myth of your manhood too far

Disease kills us as sure as the violence

When everyone participates in a conspiracy of silence

This is not about you,

This is about me

Don’t tell me I don’t understand

How hard it is to be a man

Don’t tell me I’m wrong about my brothers

Who beat their women and sponge off their mothers

Don’t tell me I’m a racist, a dyke, a spiteful bitch

If you think I got it easy, well my brother, let us switch

See what it’s like to take it on the jaw

Just because I don’t cook a meal like ya maw

See what it’s like to live a life in quiet fear

With no one to talk to, because no one will hear

You good men, dear brothers, I know you well

You have done nothing to create this sexist hell

The rest of you, listen to the things I have to tell

If any of these scenarios ring a familiar bell

This is about me, this is not about you

This is about me exposing everything you do

This is about never laying down and dying

This is about me never shutting up or lying

For your stupid, macho ass

No matter what your race or class

Sisters, hear me now: I don’t mean to start a riot

But how can we continue to be so damned quiet?

I refuse, REFUSE to participate

In a culture that seeks to denigrate

My sisters, our mothers, and me

By closing my eyes to violence

In a conspiracy of silence.

©2006 Rhonda Lee Richoux


i feel the sudden

urge to take my

brain out of


it’s been there

in a state of

decay with

the remains

of a former life

i’m stuck here in a hell hole

i’m stuck here in a grave yard

not the usual

kind with

dead people

floral sprays



etched so


in marble

but the

other kind

the worst

kind where

the living



to live

Burned Roots

He looked at an

old photograph

and commented:

Life and love were

so uncomplicated

back then.

Yes, I said.

How did we manage

to complicate it so?

I think that

I’ve over-fertilized

my garden

and burned the roots.

I think I have

a lot of shit

to shovel out.

rhonda lee richoux 2009

On The Rim of the Universe

I sit on the rim of the universe

I feed on the fear of the fall

I sit on the far end of what you would want

Unable to wade through it all

I sit in a dream refusing to wake

I sit on your list, but I’m last

I wish that I’d run to you, babe, when I could,

But wishes don’t work in the past.

I sit on the rim of the universe

I dangle my feet in a dance

I know that it’s I who directed my steps

But pretend it was all left to chance

There’s little in life that I’ll ever regret,

Not many things left that I fear

But these words must fly before you and I

Forget what we wanted to hear.

I sit on the rim of the universe

My heart bleeding onto the page

But youth doesn’t wait for reunions, you see

And love gets misplaced as we age

Once in my life, fate gave you to me

Then stole you, my one and my only

No need to repent: people came, people went

And neither of us would be lonely

So I sit on the rim of the universe,

Another name etched on my heart

As you share the fire with your heart’s desire

We’re miles and three decades apart

A star in a constellation

Stands out in the clear autumn skies

My words ricochet off of it down to you:

“It’s true that true love never dies.”

© 2009 rhonda lee richoux

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