Scout & Birdie
Scout & Birdie

In 2015, I wrote...
Love poems are my best kept secrets….because I do not write them.”

In 2018,
It’s a Sunday
And I am writing a love poem
And I want to write myself into a sunny meadow
Want to write myself into lavender
Into slow-motion-lavender-satin-sepia-tone-montage-violin
And my own brown fingers holding me gentle
A poem that’ll make me melt

but I hate writing love poems
And I hate Sundays

It’s a Sunday
And I am writing a love poem
And love poem says
“choose love over fear”
Love poem says “do not be ashamed of the way you love”
Love poem says “be soft with yourself”

In 2019,
It’s a Sunday
And I am writing a love poem
And I tell love poem to shut the fuck up.
Say, I’m talking now!
And I say my hands are are not soft
I say I've never had soft hands
I say always cuts, and scratches, and scabs and blood and Black
And Black has always been heaven but never soft I hold it anyway
Just like my hands
Now look how whole I am because of it
Look how between the itch and the sand paper
my fingers strangle one another into clasped hands
because this is how we write letters to God;
With me holding on tightly to myself

It’s a Sunday
And I do not let a love poem speak for me
It’s a Sunday and today I speak for me
And I say fear first
I say fear is family too
I have invited Fear in for tea
Instead of treating them like a Jehovah’s Witness
Instead of shutting the blinds
Instead of hiding under the furniture
Instead of changing my address
We sit and sip slowly without burning our tongues

It’s a Sunday
And I have stopped judging my mouth
I say I eat as many trolli worms as I damn well please
I say list no men anywhere
Not by name.
Not by metaphor.
I say place trolli worms in the spaces they tell you men are supposed to be
And I lay a toothbrush, floss, and my mouth guard next to each bushel
Because i love candy
but i hate root canals

It’s a Sunday
And I say I am 5
I am Mama and Mommy and Mother and
princess and fixer and watchtower and
Pink ranger
And leader
And in charge

It’s a Sunday
And say I am 5
and I’m Black boy joy.
i’m ninjas, and keyblades,
and “brotha” and “brother”
and Grandpa.
And backwards hat for when shit gets serious

It’s a Sunday
And my gender is a newborn
I am almost as powerful as I was when I was 5
I am my most master when I am my most child
i see life in living color again when I let my hands be tiny
when I let my arms be small
Because I am almost strong enough to make me into anything I want to be
Just because I drew a picture of it
I am almost strong enough to make me into anything
Just because I say so
Just because kingdom hearts music plays in the background
And everyday looks like this
Like me in a thousand faces

It’s a Sunday
And “I am all I need
I am all I need
I have all I need”
And I *want* so fucking much
And I cackle at how gorgeous I am
Knowing I can want all I want because I do not need anything more than what I already have

It’s a Sunday
And I tear up a piece of paper for the fourth Sunday in a row

I am the best love poem I’ve ever written
And I say “I’m not ready”

I say
“I’m so blessed and I’m so scared.”
And that is a poem worth blushing over

Just because I said so.


About the artist...

B.J. (Bato) Tindal is a playwright and poet from Philadelphia, PA. BJ graduated Oberlin College with a BA in Theater and Africana studies, and earned their MFA from Northwestern's Writing for the Screen + Stage program. They have interned at a number of organizations dedicated to the success of early playwrights, including the Goodman Theater, New Dramatists, and Philadelphia Young Playwrights. BJ is also a member of Greenhouse Theater’s Trellis Residency Initiative 2017 - 2018. BJ is the winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, and their play Goodnight, Tyler will receive its world premiere at the Alliance Theater in February 2019.