Thursday, January 18, 2018



My grandmother washes neckbones
Under warm, running water
She handles them gently
As if she understands
The trauma of slaughter
How it pulls you out of your bed
And into someone else's kitchen
Onto someone else's cutting board

She handles them gently
As if to apologize for their first life
And prepare them for their second

I'm feeling bored and helpful
I hover about the kitchen
Ready to be commanded
But she waves me off

"This is women's work"

I watch her fingers
As she pulls apart blood, cartilage, and fat
To prepare the meat for the final rinse before the salt
The blood runs down her hands
A bright red, on tender brown


Where did our blood and our skin come from?
From which canal of history did our family flow?
How many of us passed through the Atlantic?
What bridges did we cross?
Who did we leave behind and who did we take in?

I don't know where our black skin began
But I do know that everyone I see wearing it
Feels like a magnet trying to pull a compass towards true north
Our fields are disrupted and we're all going haywire
Culture is diaspora
Our history is dislocated
Whose job is it to pull us all back together again?


My grandmother finishes salting the meat
She tosses it in a large pot with onions and garlic
She sets the stove to medium-high
The water begins to writhe with heat
She sets the stove to medium-low
The water simmers, denied its struggle

"Grandma, where did we come from?"

She writhes and simmers
Tells me not to worry about it

"We're black. Black is all we ever were and it's all we'll ever be. We're just like
any other nigger family in Athens, Georgia.

Her field exudes
My compass spins

Who taught us how to do this to each other?

In the pot, on the stove
The neckbones soften
In anticipation
Of their second life

Food Journal #1


One pack of Trader Joe's trail mix (210 calories)
One bottle of water (0 calories)
One cup of coffee (0 calories if I can manage not to spoon suger into it)


Breathe in, a hill
Breathe out, a valley
Breathe in, a hill
Breathe out, a valley

Can I be both?
A hill and a valley?
A peak and its base?
A hunger and the will that fights it?


A stir fry consisting of the following ingredients

Carrots: (0g fat, 7 carb, 28 calories)

Mushrooms: (0.3g fat, 3.1g carbs, 21 calories)

Bell peppers: (0.2g fat, 6g carbs, 24 calories)

Brocolli: (0.6g fat, 6g carbs, 33 calories)

I stopped eating rice a long time ago.


My bony finger points to a popcorn ceiling
With the tip of my fingernail
I trace the meter of the white stucco's pattern
I measure the hills and valleys of its texture
Each hill, stressed
Each valley, unstressed

The alternation between high and low
Suggests elasticity
But I know this ceiling is as fixed to this house
As the sky is held firm by the sun's gilded rays of light

The body on the other hand
Stressess and compresses like nobody's business
I breathe in, drink a glass of water -- my stomach, a hill
I breathe out, I breathe out -- my stomach, a valley

Am I made out of air or water?
Can I be both?

Am I hunger or am I the will that fights it?
(Can I be both?)

My stomach swells with hunger
I clench my fist
drink some water, drink some coffee

This is religious whether I want it to be or not