Sasha Fierce asks ‘Why Don’t You Love Me?’

Today I find comfort in the thunder’s holy growl. Hunger sometimes smells like petrichor: dead bacteria awakening our most primal sense to the promise of replenishment. All this while, I’ve been singing along: Honey, please try to understand it’s time to love your woman. Maybe it is time to make me your woman, to let the […]

Q & A

—Do you have a fear of losing people? I once rustled moonlight underneath the blanket and threatened to keep it. I unwrapped it slowly like sand loosed by waves, a child with one present come Christmas morning. —Do you feel that being black makes you a target? If shooting holes into darkness was not a […]

Portrait of a Slave-Owner’s Wife

Light folds around her       yellow-silk like a pillar-candle Shadows round her cheek             curve between lips press below her nose On her left a thickened impasto of fading paint and varnish layers obscure shapes and it’s hard to see a dark boy in blue livery bending brown skin      black hair   without a stroke of light to […]

Architectural Integrity & Aretha Franklin Has Died

Architectural Integrity My floor could possibly be coming apart but I’m hanging on for now & for good reason Catastrophe should only be used as the name for a fragrance that only exists in a fictional universe One where a person starts every day with a montage full of clues I’ve spent the past week […]

Mayhem—Arrival and Departure

Rally (n.) 1650s, originally in the military sense of ‘a regrouping of renewed             action after a repulse’ I confuse the armored buses for deliverance                a line of colored steel     some tarnished            some spit— shined  My surprise at this release of white bodies              Their flocking together Their delivery of          renewed action the guns hanging […]

In Champaign, Illinois

Up the stairs coiled around the hotel my new friend Frank and I are lamenting that there is no gym after all—he lamenting— I going along—at my door I half stick the key in, he asks again about how to iron his pants, I have these pants with a crease—he uses his hand to saw […]

Elegy, yet again

Not a pyre, but a chimney, a beetle shaking mercilessly on top of my doormat to the sound of its own catharsis a tongue my neck both hands shaking exactly the same. My teeth as antenna & my cords wings Sing I watched a beetle die today; not a crate not a crypt not a […]

Poem in Which You Are the Church

Real boy the love I have made to you is unremarkable, as it should be in a perfect world, impossible to tell where you end and I begin. Real boy I have recessed in your nation, your looted land, pronounced it dead, & closed the borders I once bled for. Real boy I dream of […]

Can You Remove Your Necklace During Work Hours?

And the first words out of my mouth do not buck into a shield, do not blast his ears with refusal, not never, in my quiet defense something un-proud: it’s not even Muslim, as I convert that s to a z, and twist, twist my hair all of it uncovered for his ease and a […]

Plaza Hospicio Cabañas (Guadalajara)

perched in a cricket cage the canary waits to read your life you stand, sunbound eating mamey, guanaba favas con chile, pan dulce drinking agua pura y piña drop a few pesos in the guira the marimba comes to life two men like a wind-up toy or well-trained spider monkeys play Guadalajara, two mallets in […]