(4.14) Anuptaphobia


i don’t know when love became elusive               –Warsan Shire


Is that the planet you are holding

there in your mouth, all of its city lights

glowing like gold teeth? If we made

more human beings, would you let them find

their own truth? Do you need me yet?

Or is your heart a business? Would lying

with you be like bumping up against steel? Well,

how do you want to be loved? With a mouth?

An ear? By the first body part you sense

when you wake into morning?

What is that cologne you wear, machine

exhaust? Are we still trying to resurrect

ourselves together? Or was erect

what we said? Has someone new found a plot

on your tongue? Do you know love

is an epiphany, not a thing

you have to try at, but a state of mind

you can just realize?

Is it because you think I’m empty?

My door too wide? Can you find

nothing new to fill me with?

At least do me a favor

and hurt me? Wreck me,

bring me down like a piece

of antiquated architecture?

Don’t you see

I have daydreams

to maintain?

Here I am,

all boarded



4.13 My Father Calls Me a BITCH at Sunday Dinner

this poem is loosely adapted from a Wiki article in which I replace the word “weed” with “bitch,” “plant” with woman,” “human” with “male” or “man,” “government authorities” with “patriarchy” and “livestock” with “young, developing bitches”



A bitch is a woman considered undesirable.


Bitches are commonly unwanted women in male-controlled settings such as anywhere visible, board meetings, leadership positions, behind the wheel of a car, in sports, labor-heavy jobs, anything that requires muscle, thinking spaces, capacities that require confidence, and at the tops of bureaucratic triangles.


Bitches have no male classification value, since a woman that is a bitch in one context, is not a bitch when thriving where it is wanted. The term is applied to any woman that thrives or reproduces without male companionship, or is outside of its proper habitat, which is always behind the man.


Some bitches become dominant when introduced into new environments because the animals which specialize in feeding on them are absent.


Many bitches have moved out of their assigned demographic ranges and spread about the world in tandem with male migrations and commerce, so men are a vector of transport as well as a producer of the disturbed environments to which bitches are well adapted, resulting in many bitches having a close association with male-centered activities.


Some bitches have been classified as noxious bitches by patriarchy because, if left unchecked, they often compete with well-bred or proper women, or incite young, developing, and, more often, dormant bitches to thrive.


A number of well-bred women, or women of good pedigree, are also unwanted in a specific environment for a number of reasons. An important one is that they interfere with money and systematic oppression in America, wherein they must be controlled in order to prevent lost or diminished profit. Other important reasons are that they interfere with cosmetic, decorative, or recreational goals, such as the image of a smiling, starving, slave of a woman who of course never bleeds and needs the whip and collar of a man to survive.


Bitches have long been a concern, perhaps as long as men have cultivated women.

(4.11) Pegasus

In the body of a prison, kite

takes on new meaning.

It is no longer what you do

with your son come Saturday,

just the two of you, y’all special

thing. Now it’s the way men

meet, bum squares, survive

when a face is only known

in memory. Last summer a kite


broke through the cement walls

that keep us. Men across

the country, stopped taking food

together, wasted away quicker,

died, for the company of an outside

world. Family remembered us

for a moment, but rescue

is only a word for kittens in trees,

little girls with emerald eyes, fire


for hair. In the belly of a prison

we only get sixty minutes out

of our cage every day. Alone

and sunlight is a fever to think

about. Nothing soothing in a group

of minutes, the counting down

of bars, pretending freedom.

Freeing up your mind is a gamble

with insanity when your scenery

is all rot, and flight is a piece of soaked

and hung-dry two-ply,


origami’d into hope. You get adept

at moving things around you can’t

touch anymore—football-shaped

rips of paper, your last piece

of pussy in a photo on the wall,

your son running over sand

in your dreams, his hand squeezing


ribbon and string. In the prison

of a body you will lose it. Only hunger,

only a self you ran from

on the outside, heat and grief

and stretches of time. Mercy

is the name of death,

and you don’t meet her

fishing a kite around a corner.

Here, it’s best to find a spot

outside your mind, keep it busy

counting reps or away

in another person’s story. This poet


I found on the rack of books

last week. He spoke of death

as luck, before he let his wrists

out in the mouth of an ocean,

on the tongue of a beach,

where children raced diamonds

whipping through the sky, Boys burst

from the raised loins, he wrote.

And I saw it, how I dream of us leaving

this place, where our skin is broken


law. The way out

of an imprisoned body, can be

recognized by the spill of light

starting to peel open, the gate

of a penitentiary coming up.

Every man touched by sun

and fire could burst from brick

like this, not another brown wrist

would know the cypher of steel

once it lay open, coughing up


its own mumbled name.

It would be something to see:

raised kites jerking, string taut,

the heart with something to do.

Tears finally leaving men, men

finally leaving behind the steel,

the body


the ground.

(4.10) A Photo of a Photo

after  César Vallejo



I have disappeared completely, between sea

of eye and sea of air made collimate. On the lip

of an island, I am gone—I won’t euphemize

on a day like today,

a Thursday in spring


I am here alone, in good company. All the trees

have fingers they bend to wave at one another

and each round fruit is a whole globe.

My shoes—abandoned weeks ago, and my life

with them


The air swallowed him, they will say,

already forgotten I will be soon. My face alive

only in one-dimensional frames,

folded and creased,

riffing on solitude.


Yes, I think I will stay, here behind the eye,

which holds the same sun from a secret place.

I think I will be no more

on simple, rich-dirt roads. I’m pretty sure

I have decided, or at the least,


I have not returned.

(4.7) 8 Ways of Looking at a Bullet

a trumpet

you can’t get

out of your head / a firework

                                      when you can’t

                                      stand the quiet

if you pull

the trigger


will know

your name

you ejected


                                               the potential to

                                               explode / messy

                                               flesh entropy

                              a staring contest

                              with the wide eye

                              of a barrel. your man

                              has caught

                              scent of flight

                              on you

the fire in a dragon’s snout; it is inevitably coming

             from your back

             on the ground,

             hoodie covering

             one of your eyes.

                                                                  a way out / a way over






          after Danez Smith


the first time i came during sex

i was alone—three years past


a hymen & always-hurt;

a dopeman’s white leather


couch smeared with a cheek

of blood; him, a borrowed life


never a boy, did not believe

my wound was new. the first


time i came was no where

near a man’s hands. it was


the truth.




          *the goddess of truth and the mother of Virtue. It was believed

          that she hid in the bottom of a holy well because she was so elusive.

          Her image is shown as a young virgin dressed in white




4.5 Wake


/ wayyyyyyy’k /


  1. to teach yourself to smile again;

                 clean slate your face.


         she harbored up the corners of her mouth, she drew her lips apart and left a wake of teeth.


In Kentucky you can be a Black girl & not know it. You sleep next to

this instrument of control, it be patrolling you through the night & you

don’t even be trying to run away. You have no idea. It be tucked in a chest

or in your night terrors, between your great-grandmother’s blankets in a

drawer with her thimbles & thread & dead white poems. Don’t think

your grandfather won’t pull it out & show it to you, lay it across your

arms, gift you its weight & crime. Do you believe me? What if I told you

he said its name be Justice? Would that be too much? Or if I said he be

the only man your childhood saw hauled away in cuffs, paled & liver-

spotted & still in his limbs, sharp enough to fold into the back of a cruiser?

You & this weapon of defense—the only two Blacks ever

allowed in the house. & at night he be singing you to sleep

while it sit invisible sentry-like out of sight. He be humming hymns:

I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses & knowing

how much blood that bat has seen & whose. He be loving you undercover

& every night be a prayer: him saying one for your father’s split open head

& you saying one for your father’s whole face in front of you. Bullying

a Lucifer-shaded boy’s head is what it’s was made for he say, your papaw,

while you hold it & you won’t know enough about yourself to understand

the cannibal nature of chewing on these words, with no riot inside you.

No baton twirling in the air of your stomach. No notice of the wizards &

their wands inside your nightmares. You be closed-eye & it be there, Black

as a thing it mean to beat.

4.2 “SUBMIT”

or treat doubt like a ghost: pretend you don’t see it, attend it’s funeral.

          humble yourself before a man you see god in, let his hands vine your neck

& your body crumble inside his grip; tender away the blood beating

          in your ear by bending over, bowing away from the muscle, putting your wide

open into the ether; drop your heart to the back of your knees; un-cavern

          your anima; let praise crawl through your lungs & lie down before an altar

of heavy hands; offer your purple, your thick middle, be consumed; or outlive

          your own ash, or surrender; or say thank you for the pain, the fall, the release

of animal inside yourself; spread for the moonless black of him, be eclipsed

          or swallowed; swallow the entire night & hold it in your throat as vocal

memory; throw it at god in the form of a holler; teach broken gods how to drop

          rain; or give up a tear, or a prayer into a neck; free your skin by being bound

up in another’s; or be split open, then bloom; or come hard into the air

          of a mouth; collect all fear from your spine & turn it to spell; be soft, cream,

be quiet; breathe out from between your legs, from a place there is not a good

          enough name for; otherworld your body, otherworld his body; enter hurt &

joy, erratic rapture on command; loose all feeling into the wine of another spirit;

          throne yourself on your knees.