Monday, May 18, 2020

Bud Light

Alternative Title Reverse Bastard Examines the Genetic Nature of Alcohol Use

You were not there when I need you most
There is so much more to say -- or ask.

In asking, I approach you
What is the bond between father and son?

The bond between father and son
The space between the chip and the shoulder it is placed on.

The chip, placed on the shoulder
The world placed on Atlas' back.

Bent back I shouldered your absence
A fire blooming in my spine.

In my spine, that fire bloomed
I hobble on blackened feet.

On blackened feet, meaning I walk through this world darkly
Dad, did/do you walk darkly?

Dodging slivers of glass
Hidden among the grass blades.

Hidden among the grasses' blades
Always drawn -- safety the gaps between shuddered breaths.

Drawing I breath I shudder as air fills my gut with rot
With the fermented smell of blades of grass-sheathed-glass.

That fermented smell, that first Bud light
I saw you drink and saw you smile for the first time.

How could you not?

Budding light, that brilliant friend
Lifts the chip off of your shoulder.

And I follow behind you, your chip and promise
Blades of grass glinting off brilliant friends.

Who know you more than I ever could
Dad, the first time I drank it was because I need to know you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Blackness (Consent not to be a Single Being)

Alternative Title: Reverse Bastard Reads Too Much Theory With Their Morning Coffee

after Fred Moten,

To participate in Blackness is not a negation of the Other
But an embracing of the consent to not be a single being
To exist in the gap of what I am believed to be vs what I am
All those emergent variables reconfiguring themselves along multidimensional planes
To become the nexus and the model

The cause and its effect containing multitudes
Which in themselves become multitudes
Which in themselves are bounded and reshaped by the
Shifting trajectory of revised timelines

Blackness, the embodied guardianship of repressed histories
Blackness, crystallized and historical memory

My dark pulse counting the metronome between
life and afterlife
ancestor and descendant
colony, post-colony, post-racial, re-racialized, bound and repurposed
Entombed and incarcerated preemptively within the body
That harbors that freedom dream which anchors
And dissuades from colonial rancor

Embodied and immanent, time forced into the present
By the irruption of my ruptured patience and measured hope
Watchtower, I am watchtower
My ticking hands pulling the thread of eternal recurrence
That reminds the soul of the shift between essence and instance

Being dismembered and whole across transverse planes
Phatasmic limbs gesticulate spatial reason
Reveling in the erotics of fragmentation
Raging in the celibacy of reconstitution

Being within and without
I stand beside myself
Blackstar singularity
Instantiated, analyte, pitch-black blur
Essentialized, phalanx, golden horde


Sunday, April 5, 2020

Black Boy Wears a Mask During a Pandemic


Standing still, social and distant
Soft touch filled with suspicion
But this is what I I know
Affection tinged with bitter hate
You would freeze if you saw me
Disrobed, a wisp in your forgotten history
Tragic – the practiced ice of my breath

Considered viral at all times
The shifting of my skin from suburb to suburb
Black contorts to green lawn and red wine
I was Black before you were sick
I could be the first to go
Pandemic – the lift of my rising lungs

Cloth wrapped around my face
Darker than black
Pull it off and I can lighten up at any moment
Every day is a mask
Every day has been a mask
That I have been seen and keenly avoided
When you cross the street
Grip your purse
Hold your dog back from the onslaught
Catastrophic – my full and rising blood

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

loverboi

1.

Lover, I do not know your name
Because I did not ask for it
A name is wrapped up
In the heart's asking
And we reserve our hearts
For the world outside of the
Brief joining of our bodies

Because what the heart asks for
Emerges not-in-between
The back and forth of our
Enduring Longing and

[the name does not enter here]

Fleeting Satisfaction

[the name may enter here]

2.

Lover, or more accurately:
Lover who is my approximation of Love's body

I hope that you are living
Outside of my body and
Living outside of your body because
The body refuses the asking of the heart

[the name as it enters]

Until it observes the asking among other bodies
Who ask the questions we dare not, and when
the asking is observed it causes something within your body and my body

[not quite Enduring Longing]

To unfurl darkly and shamefully
So as to avoid the body's hands and eyes
To hide among the interstices of the heart
Briefly detected as a dull ache
Present within each heartbeat

I know you know what I'm talking about because
We both remember the moment that that dark unfurling
Was given to us (because it was given to us)
By someone else (either your mother or father or some older boy
In your childhood and for that I am so, so sorry)

That silent wound that bends your knee in proposal
To ghosts of men who haunt your sex
We have both chased these phantom loves
Blinded by our velvet rage
Now do you see
How your past
Coils around my past and
Our futures begin
In that same frayed thread?

It ends in the same place too
A deathbed hallowed by 13 angels around
Your head and my head
When they whisper back the secrets of
Your longing and my longing--
Is that when your name will reveal itself
Written in the Book of Life
That only holy eyes may see?

3.

Lover, when will we stop playing these games?
It is our queer hope to exceed
The violence of this world
That violence that breaks
Your hold on my hand and
Sends you out the door.

How fucked is it that the game we play is one of survival?

Our bespoke love tailored in shadow.
Our love's light transfigured to refract
Our hidden shame.

4.

Lover -- if I could
I would ask your name and
Use its power to set us both free but
Instead we accept our sex and deny
Our yearning
Trembling, I coil myself around you
To invoke the not-in-between of
Your not-name through
Incantations of bastard's magic

One day we will know each other and
Someday, somehow, someone in a future time
Will know our names and
Speak of us fondly.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Microdream: Dawn Chorus

I traded my old water bottle in
Went from a bright cerulean blue -- deep with feeling

To a stern metallic grey -- sleek, cold, and withholding
All the things I wish I could be

When that vortex of feeling
Takes hold of me

Surrounded by the racket
Of the dawn chorus
All the birds singing their agonies
Through the bright blue day
Their notes suspended in the cold winter light

In that cold winter light suspended
I asked myself for forgiveness

I gave up on writing poems a long time ago...
The world doesn't care about the art
Of the personal tragedy anymore
The planet is dying
And no one gives a shit

We are too isolated
Within our own hierarchies of pain
Most of my friends (me included)
Are worried about finding jobs

(And if not worried about finding jobs,
 then worried about finding love,
and if not worried about finding love,
 then worried about finding themselves)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Incantatory, Your Steps

Incantatory were your steps
Cycled in rhythms of
Lamentation + celebration
Your comings + goings
Form the circumference of that circle
Giving shape to the reminder
Of a future reunion

There is no easy way to say goodbye
So sitting in silence I care for you
While you admire the sight of me
Dressed in yellow for the first time
A dim sun in my room's low, purple light.

Your body + my body
Is that of man and man
And that human craving that anchors us
To the floating frenzy of this world
And how long have a I thrashed!
Desperate to release the tether

Tattered + exhausted
I succumb to the day-to-day
Remembering fondly the night-to-night
Intimacies that saved us
From our selves
When the moonlight whispers
Loud as ice cracking under the weight of liquor

Drunk -- we fall into this!
I stumble into your second world
And you are elemental + longing
And I am elemental + longing

Skeptical I wonder: Is the bed a grave or a cradle?
Together we are figuring it out
Figuring it all out

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Amber

A family moves towards reconciliation
Scrubs the blood off the kitchen floor

Evidence of the ways they were made
To raise their children

A brutal theater reproduced
Silence and sound become twin barrels of the same gun

All things in their right place
My childhood home is a war museum

See how all my subterfuge
Is laid bare at my feet

The boy, hidden -- a spy in his own home
These signs I learned to interpret to protect him

My grandmother's church hat-- a threat
My grandfather's blood pressure -- a premonition

My sister's bratty ways -- a nuisance
My mother's entire life -- a warning

My father's truancy -- a void
My own body -- a reaction

I've been queer in a way that's failed me
I've been terrified of my own family

A family moves towards reconciliation
Scrubs the blood off the kitchen floor

Evidence of the ways they were made
To raise their children

A brutal theatre reproduced
Silence and sound become twin barrels of the same gun

All things in their right place
My childhood home is a war museum

See how all my subterfuge
Is laid bare at my feet

The boy, hidden -- a spy in his own home
These signs I learned to interpret to protect him

My grandmother's church hat-- a threat
My grandfather's blood pressure -- a premonition

My sister's bratty ways -- a nuisance
My mother's entire life -- a warning

My father's truancy -- a void
My own body -- a reaction

I've been queer in a way that's failed me
I've been terrified of my own family

And yet every card they bought me kept
Every birthday and graduation remembered

Celebrated in memory's amber
That fragrant resin resonating through time

These small, pleasant reminders
Pulling me back from margin back to center