Just a Little Bit

  • Poetry & Prose

Just a Little Bit


What you want,

Baby, I got it.


Aretha taught me how to spell respect.

In kindergarten I wrote it down,

And what I wrote went up on the wall

Like a banner for the revolution.


What you need,

Well, you can see I got it.


With 40 eyes on me I raised my hand,

I said “please” to use the bathroom,

And when someone was talking,

I sealed my mouth and paid attention.


All I’m askin’

Is for a little respect when you come home


So why was it that after school

I thrashed my little brother,

Flung his toy cars at the wall,

Each wheel detached a question left unasked?


(just a little bit)


Because he’s little, I thought,

Or because toy cars are cheap,

And anyway, in the final analysis,

It doesn’t matter—because I love him.


Hey baby


I love you, too: the way your smile

Ignites my heart without a word,

The way your laugh blooms suddenly

And licks my ear without permission.


(just a little bit)


But now and then I wonder

About the noise behind your teeth.

If I went deaf in the middle of a joke,

Would you stop laughing?


When you get home


Between us we have four eyes,

Fewer than 40 but more than one,

Not enough for us always to raise our hands

But too many for us to see the same thing.


(just a little bit)


Lately I have been thinking.

I will tell you what of, but please,

Please, listen carefully.

I promise to listen back.



Find out what it means to me


In kindergarten I thought Aretha

Was speaking to her lover,

But now I see that “what it means to me”

Is another piece I must spell out.




So here it is: Ask me. Ask me

When I am silent. Ask me

Even when I am not. Ask me again.

Ask me today and every day.


Take care, TCB


TCB, but also know

That business is not always open

And taking care of it sometimes means

Leaving it alone.


What you want,

Baby, I got it.


I will do the same for you.

I will love you as and when it’s right,

Yes by yes and no by no,

Because what we want, baby, we got it.