Day 30 of 30

RECLAMATION OF ROPE

yarn braided together
brother we are fiber
sister we are strand
tensile tough twisted
around throat and
threat brother sister
we can gnaw the apple
from adam snatch his
voice from his neck
us as rope it will fit
perfectly in this
together-mouth I am
certain will not knot

Day 29 of 30

FISH DINNER

my mother was frying fish
today and i hate when she
fry fish because the stink
get all in my cotton like
summer funky or cigar and

i say why you always gotta
stink up the house when i
gotta go somewhere and don’t
wanna show up humming of
catfish and grouper and

sizzlin’ old grease from
last week’s fry and she say eat
boy shut up eat because love
sometimes gotta smell like
fish to feel like full belly

Day 28 of 30

A REMINDER AND RECKONING (in need of a rest)

at some point i must admit
that i am not composed of stone
that i am not an iron spit
hot but unburned above the flame

at some point i will need to sit
and take heed of my flesh and bone
and maybe even cry a bit
and beat my head and scream my name

jason jason grind and grit
don’t forget you’re not alone
for everywhere is where you fit
and everyone feels just the same

Day 26 of 30

ON HUBRIS AND KANYE

what happens when you
start to see yourself

more as savior
than servant

what makes a king jam
the tines of his crown

into the chests of
the crown makers

and gesture as jester
jesus as they bleed

Day 25 of 30

WHAT WE DONT WANNA TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT JORDAN

i was lucky i felt
lucky to be around
to see a black man
fly through the air
tongue out to tease
the world camera
flashes bouncing off
bald shine ball in
hand outstretched
superhero red and
black and black man
had me feeling lucky
to be black turned
shoes into spaceships
and forcefields and
targets worth the
risk as a black boy
who believed they
could make me jump
higher than hate
i hate to say this
now i hate to say
this now i hate to
say i felt like a
fool to find he
thought less of the
boom bap and record
scratch that made
him took him from
athlete to astronaut
red there is red
around here and black
kids in your city see
it and many wear your
shoes while walking
through minefields they
have given their
arms to you and hope
to make it to your
jersey number
the first one and
you be the last one
to come around and
to me someone who use
to feel lucky about you
knows that’s just
bull shit

Day 24 of 30

THE PROBLEM WITH JUST OUR LUCK

we would joke about how
we’d all grow up and have daughters and daughters would be some kind of penance for the sins of sons

like we aint have mothers
like we aint know the difference
between human and couch
like daughters are ominous mind-changing curses wrapped in cute
da da juju

im buying a shotgun
no dating until thirty
chaperoning prom after i
threaten her date
our mirror our memory
a madness in masculinity

making it about us
when it’s never been about us
and always about us
and now i wonder what if
we all had sons

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

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