Day 23 of 30

HOMEGIRL

i grew up with fight you girls
hoodied and booted and vaselined
face shining like fingers after fried food

girls with teeth tongues and bedazzled
bricks for fists and snatch-backs like
fountain streams of black gold

eraser back earring girls who
blow bubbles and burst them whose jokes
are jagged recitations of rap lyrics

whose hinged necks use halos
as loose hula hoops ’round their heads in case
i ever got too comfortable with heaven

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Day 22 of 30

FATHER SON BONDING

praying hands handcuffed, engulfed in flames sewn, burned, etched
into my forearm either says that i needed to say something or
i was a dramatic fifteen year old. or i needed to cry out.
my father watched to make sure i didn’t cry. he was the king

of tattoos. arms covered since i was a kid. limbs like graveyards
for lost siblings and lost minds and lost times when black aint
ink at all, when ink aint show at all unless you wanted to starve
or fight or be called not black. you been hanging with crazy

white boys. you crazy if you think you can do what they do to
their bodies, if you think you can call it art, if you think you
can attach it to an africa you never knew. don’t you know what
the bible say about temples? so i got a cross the following

year. and a dove on my back because doves were in and im a peace
cliche at eighteen. and an ankh on my chest because i grew up seeing
my mother where one around her neck before music made us wear
brown and green and pretend to know things we didn’t, but feel like
we could be things we wanted. poetry. and pride. and a kora on my

leg and a typewriter and some circles, the horn of a continent my skin is
itching to be scratched by, sankofa on a sofa and on and on and on. my body
is a timeline. dots on a spectrum. stakes in a porous land. a gallery
building being ever built based on the blueprint inked into my father’s brown.

Day 21 of 30

MY FATHER POSTPONED HIS SHOULDER SURGERY SO WE COULD GO ON VACATION

son i can’t be in a sling
slung one-armed and lop as i take
this ride with you this could be an adventure
anything could happen i can’t risk it

might have to take the wheel
might have to avoid a pothole
might have to turn/left then turn back/right
might have to throw a ball
might have to throw a heavy thing away
might might have to throw a punch
have to ease into a hole
might have to climb out of one
might have to help you climb out of one which means
might have to reach out for you

hug you with my whole/he said
yes it might feel like my arm is twisting but
son this could be an adventure worth the risk
son we have so much to catch up on

Day 20 of 30

ON STARBUCKS ET AL

just because there are options
for skinny and whip or no
whip and iced and blended
and added vanilla
sweetener and foam and no
foam and light ice and
extra hot and small as tall
and medium as big and large
as for some reason
an italian word
for flare maybe
venti

eventually
we’ll have to address the fact
the coffee is always burnt
and you’ve always gotten my
name wrong

Day 19 of 30

UNTITLED

i’ve been whispered to
told secrets by brown girls who
grit teeth as greeting
who split open at night
and sew shut in day and
wish they were seen and
wish they weren’t seen
and wish they weren’t
seen as chasms as canyons
to be walked through and
explored with steel toe
and pick axe surveyed by
an adventurer’s eye a conquerer’s
boot and dirty nail
on the foothold and grip of

i’ve been whispered to
told desires of being more
than halved mountain
and chipped stone
and erosion and drought and
flood and seismic
shift and quake and bolt
being more than mishap
missed or misses target
practice for phallus
fashioned as god

and i call my mother
ask her if i can confide in her with
the secrets i’ve been told if i can
lay my broken rules upon her breast
this rock of my family
this rock of mine
and all she says is to remember
to knock the dust off my hands
before i come to her table

Day 17 of 30

APRIL 17, 1942, JACKIE ROBINSON GETS HIS FIRST MAJOR LEAGUE HIT AND WE STILL US

if you ever stood at the plate
looked out at the mound and saw fang and
the future burned bodies of the first
favorite passtime and a pastlife on
a painful pasture and a pastor telling you
of your birthright of burden
if you knew he was having a ball spitting
your way and had a ball was going low and
going high and to the right whispering
nigger in your ear as it whizzed past
your head better duck better duck better
batter batter bitter change up but you
know it ain’t no change up at all
if you could see the curveball coming
before you got to the game before they
gave you a number and a position before
they trusted you with a bat
and if you ever took a bunt when a home run
was easy but you knew a home run could
easily mean a hard run home