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My Guardian Angel (for Simone)

thPhoto taken from the WEB

My Guardian Angel

I remember taking that dreadful one-mile walk thirty-seven times. Most of those mornings were sunny. Though, in my mind, they were the gloomiest, murkiest, and haziest of my life. I remember the building, modern in its outward appearance, and the uninviting smell once I entered. I remember the patients that sat in the lobby who greeted me with cheerful smiles. But I quickly learned that behind those forced, almost customary gestures of kindness, lingered specks of doubt that could never fully wane. I remember the array of colored candy in the glass jar on the counter next to the magazines about all things cancer. I remember the nurse calling my name and taking that long walk down the bright hallway filled with medical certificates and degrees and pictures of former patients on display. I wondered if all the plaques and certificates were supposed to somehow ease my anxiety, and if the pictures of former patients who had come back to offer thanks to the doctors were supposed to give me hope that this moment in time would eventually cease to exist, someday. I remember the darkened room where a large machine sat in the center, and the chill of the slab that was attached to the large machine, and that god-awful mask, perfectly molded for my face.

Every day that I endured radiation treatment, I clenched the side of the slab with my left hand. Somehow, this ritual brought me closer to my guardian angel, Simone. She lost her battle with cancer a year and a half prior to my diagnosis, and in witnessing her rapid deterioration, a part of me died with her. The other part endured a similar fight seventeen months later. Simone did not have many material possessions in this life, and the few she had were kept in a black backpack as she traveled from residence to residence. She did not have a ‘home’ in the typical sense. Sure, she had children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and sisters and brothers, and a host of friends and others she affectionately referred to as family. Simone and I connected when I was thirteen over a similar passion for books and tastes in music. I enjoyed how our casual conversations about the most mundane of things always turned into deep-rooted debates about life in general. She never judged me, just listened, and offered her suggestions. There were no proverbial walls, constructed by my utter distrust of people.

Simone was a cook at a small café in downtown Long Beach. And though she loved cooking at the café, she loved cooking for her friends and family even more. She cooked for her family on most every holiday. She had a gift for arts and crafts, always making homemade Easter baskets for her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She made the best homemade cheesecakes of all-time, too! Every year on my birthday, I sat and watched as she beautifully crafted a special one just for me. Her main ingredient was love, always love. No ulterior motives, no hidden agendas. Just love!
She taught me many lessons before and after she died. But the one that will sustain the tests of time, “You are not your condition!” She always said that. She never made excuses for herself, or allowed anyone to feel sorry for her condition. Simone was many things in her life: a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt, a friend. But she was my guardian angel. I held her hand thirty-seven times on that cold slab, donning that mask, that uncomfortable mask. And I always whispered to myself, “I am not my condition!”

by Charles Banks, Jr. (Poet/Writer)

Solace (Writing as Black Angel)




To tune out the horrid sounds
of the outside world,
I will do anything!
It should be outlawed to openly discuss
celebrity tweets and political scandals.
Well, at least outside of coffee shops,
sports bars on Super Bowl Sunday,
and crowded Irish pubs on St. Patrick’s Day.
Such extraneous talk is not worth absorption.
I’ll settle for a dingy gray hoodie,
Beats headphones
blaring a symphony of Marshall Mathers
my encomium transmitters
of pertinent information
an outlet from impurity and bullshit.

© 2014 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Black Angel

Bittersweet Blizzard (Writing as Black Angel)

Photo taken from the WEB

Photo taken from the WEB

Bittersweet Blizzard
Such chaotic intrusions—
Loud voices
Antagonize me
With the intent to dispirit.
An abrupt suspension—
Hushed voices
Soothe me
With a massage of comfort.
© 2013 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Black Angel

America’s Next Top Model (Writing as Curiosity)

Photo taken from the  WEB

Lean up against that prop and strike a seductive pose!
That waterfall backdrop will make a great Maxim cover.
Tilt your head slightly to the right,
arch your eyebrow, and relax for your million dollar shot.
Now our wardrobe director will change
you into something more befitting of a… Playmate.
The natural landscape will make for an exquisite
centerfold in Playboy’s newest Slut Issue.
Millions of men will bypass all the beer advertisements
and silly cartoon illustrations to salivate over
the gripping sight of America’s newest brunette beau ideal.
They will lose themselves in endless fantasies.
Hidden behind the mesmeric eyeliner,
The allure of your jaded eyes from afar,
The touch up of transparent blush for meaningful parties,
The Chanel shades you favor in the Hollywood summer,
are concealed truths that only one person knows.
I will play the role of heartless tabloid journalist,
and I plan on revealing every hidden truth
you buried so snug under your bedroom pillows
when you go to sleep at night to whoever will listen!
© 2012 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Curiosity
Excerpt from End of the Road
Published by in Print and e-book.

Do You Ponder Me Yet? (Writing as Curiosity)

Photo taken from the WEB

When the moon ceases to guide
the exclusive waves to your concern,
do you still ponder my good health?
When the scent of my estranged
presence is lost in your nightmares,
do you still ponder my whereabouts?
When the last remnants of ache
dry upon your dehydrated cheeks,
do you still ponder my embrace?
When the brave flames of ardor
tire and powerful crackles resonate,
do you still ponder my chaste warmth?
When the fine blades of your betrayal
are nourished by my countless tears,
do you still ponder my broken disposition?
© 2012 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Curiosity
Excerpt from End of the Road
Published by in Print and e-book.

Rich Girl (Writing as Curiosity)

Photo taken from the WEB

Photo taken from the WEB

Oh, now she is a rich girl!
Rockin’ those Dolce & Gabbana shades
in the California summer to disguise
the imperfections behind her slutty hazel gaze.
Chanel Number 5 is the scent that remains;
it stalks as I get drunk off cheap liquor store wine and
down pills in this suffocating, sun-deprived apartment.
She parades down Rodeo Drive with a knock-off
Gucci bag and a papparazi mob all around.
I swear, telling by all these fuckin’ piranhas with cameras,
you would think she was someone important.
I could never get her off that damned Blackberry!
She wore it like a third earring.
And now they have these bluetooth thingies where
you don’t even have to hold the phone anymore—
Like she needs incentive to be any lazier.
Oh, she’s such a rich girl now!
Rockin’ that California girl swagger;
UGGS and blue jeans in the summertime,
flip flops and daisy dukes in the wintertime.
She’s become a slave to superficial items,
caught up in the hype of Hollywood,
forgetting how life was before all the fame and fortune.
© 2012 by Charles Banks, Jr.
Writing as Curiosity.
Excerpt from End of the Road
Published in Print and eBook at