Afro Goddess Looking Forward
after Mickalene Thomas When I look back over my life on how everything played out it was I who licked the salt from your pillar neck. Some days I chose to self-sabotage, some hours I resembled Orpheus, afraid we would never walk right up to the sun, hand-in-hand, my fingers stuck beneath your skirt. I looked to the hills from whence cometh my help. I lived in the history of the future where some of us would not die. When asked to keep on the straight and narrow, when presented with the lineup of Tom, Dick, and Harry, I ducked to enter a pink hole. When I forgot to mind my head, God looked over his shoulder.
Explore The poetry ArchivesBrowse works selected from past issues
Select an issue:
- The Dancing Plague of 1518I am headless in morning, so ask me to dance. And it’s simple, I never relapse. I admit it was me who once broke all the stars. Yes, I wrote the last word. But I really don’t understand why Shania Twain had no last shred of self once I was done with her. All man I feel I have no bones. Like worms in labs, heads having been removed, who dare still move as lacking nothing. What we lack is little more than it all. As in Strasbourg, how hundreds did dance without rest. And the boiling still deep in the streets: find once-ice. Long past vendors of nicotine, bread, through the throng. And four-hundred more join. Do not look at how all bodies fall to earth and meet the God who moves them. Better become child again. Let limbs be shaken off. themselves and grab the un-denying. Shania (the Queen) knew just what she was doing over me.
- Canto XVIII…when he saw a child drinking water from her hands he threw his cup away… …when a mouse ate the crumbs from his poor man’s bread he rethought his philosophy… …lit his lantern in daylight to see if he could see anything or anyone truly… green fruit in noonlight the olive breeze bright like fish eyes dart away the tree is made of light the patient wind decides to stay …thought in all things moved a soul the lodestone draws into a metal rose the iron filings… roof of mouth is roof of heavens the word is the same starry fog a thought thought behind the teeth …he who discovered what water is discovered the soul is eternally self-moving… a corpse that breathes buried in thought counts the olives one by one the aster is a purple flower the sun is a yellow button on the traffic of the stars …the threads gave birth to themselves and wove a world together, a god is the never-beginning-never-ending one… …the whole tree is a single leaf he thought the letter g unfurled on the stem of the deciduous throat… …the soul a dry heat he thought the sun would pull the moisture from his body leaving him sane and whole…
- Canto XX—for Patrick Pethybridge , the no-tongue bell , the urn-mouth against the earth , dream in which I would not sing , though many asked me to sing , slept warm in the stable straw , with my head on a lamb breathing , a full-grown lamb , the bell around the cow’s neck , did not ring , the bell was sleeping , dreaming that it would not ring , goat mouth asleep in the hay , the dream of eating hay
- falling asleep on the right side of the man of my literal dreamssmooth doorknob face - and chest full of time bombs - spot of ultimate explosion far but miraculously not - beyond my amateur reach - am i the shortbread - or the not shortbread of the binary - you made in your sleep - strange strange cookie - what does efficiency have to do with - your mouth like something - made to be plucked - if i could bake anything into this melting feeling - it would be air - one sure handful - of yeast // // this is the future - last saturday couldn’t portend - last tuesday stuck pins in - last nightmare broke into - less like day than matins - song - you sing in your waking - but sleeping you rupture - my only - i move toward your meteor shower - of language - like big mouths for bits - of popcorn - that old party trick my poor reflex - rejects - the saving grace of palms // // i like you unwaxed - i like you illegible - can’t see the bus - but hear it arriving - footsteps outside the door - heavy as fingers - children climbing a trunk - slim leaves yellow - your dark tangling hair - piles of autumn colors trembling - ready to burst - can you imagine - back against the grass - red and orange and red and yellow butterflies - god did that - folded secrets - out of air - darling? your ears - close enough to toss a new coin in - watch it go down around - around - around - did you ever do that - at the zoo?
- Jason Throws a BoltTen men on the side of a moun tain dog trying to make a date white snails desperately clinging to the side of the land. Jason picking brown trees – No, flowery funky brown daisies all the walkers in natural tones no neon peach sky blue sea so what approximation a poem from Greece Apollo’s legs on fat & far. Com municate that to a dog. 5 boats! dog road trimming a mountain of black wormy negotiation plunging to the sea. There’s the wifi that funny bird write tonight I’m that part of nature that doesn’t know it so well. Leave it to men. Picking things. I love breeze Nature is big & I feel scrawny Dog 3 boats Mountain blocking two.
- Land in SightIf I had faults to speak of they would be That I’m bad at pretending to be working. Summer is meant to make you sweat and if Your skin isn’t sloppy enough you best pack Up, leave earth by latest May. I don’t think You would need to sweat in space because There’s no one there to tell you to. Here there Are pools on earth, mostly lakes, and some What oceans. Slacking off at work, I found Myself watching footage of the moon landing, With arrows showing wires pulling men across The so-called “moon.” Accidentally, my sound Was on. There are parts of the ocean so deep They make a noise like high, the highest thing— And my boss once told me her dad believed He picked up, from his radio, the distress calls Amelia Earhart sent before she died. So I’m wide With apology when she hears about the moon Landing, across the room, having happened ֥ "Here on earth." I didn't want you to find out Like this, I tell her. Now there’s nowhere to go.
- LovecutionMost of the cups in the house are missing a piece. Not about handles, about completion. Water pooling in a stray’s footprint: bellybutton heat. Follow my proof. Faith is the only way to praxis. Need more hours in the day. Need more stretch of twilight. Need more oil for the stop-me-creaking. Need to know where the fronds land at the end of a dandelion wish. Yesterday I saw a pair of eyes larger than I’d ever seen. Today I inherit a million blankets. Hold me for as long as you are able: Until even those handholds go droop. Until even our front door receives a root canal. Until even the first song we danced to becomes the broth. Not a chain of superstition, a bouquet.
- The TripI shall miss you. Drinking grass like that; a creature drinks from a stream its time & they feel their own trickle and warmth and wonder what’s that to know my own hug some how the language slipping the moon drink twice once in my throat once in my throat and once in my eyes it’s a new year How about it is sleep better than death is day better than night is love better than eternity are dogs better than cats is coffee what is coffee any groaning machine better than any chirping animal is a child better than a building is an unseeing woman better than not is heat better than ice cold day bright day better than telling the truth is truth the ugly thing you share is sharing beautiful or hurtful and cruel does a pen have words in any event endless are words like bullets tearing flesh announcing themselves what do they tell do hurtful words tell the end of something the body al ways cold the day was never new life is a prison how are you drinking that saying that writing that the puppets groan the heating clanks its OPEN to you a box or a vista a plate of cheeeeese