is from Flint, MI, and currently lives in Harlem. Her poems have been in 94creations, Columbia: A Journal of Art and Literature
, and forthcoming in Liberty Ave Lit Journal
, online at impakter.com
; embarrassing first drafts appear at Tupelo Press 30/30 project February 2017. She's done the Tin House
Summer Workshop twice, and her marketable skills include teaching poetry to minors, teaching poetry as political/social subversion, and talking shit.
Edited by Catherine Chambers
April 19, 2017
There's a woman who owns a junk shop
& when there's a loose tile in the foyer,
a piece of glass that looks like Detroit, she yelps.
These cold crackle fragments rest
in the tension of her palm;
old guitar strings woven into a necklace,
Virgin icon from the rear-view of the Buick she slept in,
empty clementine crates storing spices & cups
for Greek coffee, Dalmatian shells from a far off coast,
snapshots of dirt & river water.
Some days she's the kind of woman who,
while she reads poetry in the afternoon,
hires an artist of the tongue to perform
Other days she puts on a leather jacket, climbs
into running bathwater because she's lonely
& imagines that's how she came out of the womb.
But really, no womb would ever have her,
her gaze moves around my apartment twitching;
the fridge kicking in, pieces of Carrera quarry
shifting in an ashtray; she smells like cinnamon from Sullivan St.
& cleans her teeth with an X-acto knife.
I want to hit her with the brick from a Pittsburgh street
I lived on once, tuck her into a cigar box, arrange her
like a musicbox ballerina, pin her up with cast-iron nails
pulled from a 19th-century church,
or maybe ask her out for beers at some Bowery basement bar
where she'll only order Michigan brews, one Two-Hearted
She is the one of us who still has paint in her hair,
she still has that pair of jeans I wore working four years
of set design, she's never had an abortion
& never left the roof of the old Durant Hotel that night
when we broke in to see the lights down Saginaw St.
Her junk shop is somewhere near the Flint River
where she catalogues, cleans & tells stories to her trinkets
so I can hear stories again
in that foreign tone someone who has never been a lover uses.
"Her" is one of the cardinal poems in a clump in progress collectively called Thalassaphobia (Gr. fear of the sea) titled such because I often think of my hometown (Flint, MI) as Atlantis. The Thalassophobia poems (after Jamaal May) focus on the after-effect of growing up in a place that was purposefully forgotten and left to decompose. Instead of going away, we accumulated treasure and rot on/in our body(ies) and as any other Flint kid could tell you there is much beauty and strength in to be found in what we've built and fight to keep alive. "Her" is litany, reflection, and actualization.
Poets Resist is published by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.