SEE ALL TAGS & MOODS
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
And when they bombed other people’s houses, we
but not enough, we opposed them but not
enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America
White people tell you to apologize for yourself
through gestures, through small talk, through the ways in
which they ask, “Where are you from?” and
then again, unresolved: “No, I mean...Where are you
You are light
when the sun is punched out
and darkness reigns.
You are the antidote
to what came before:
black blood, black heart,
hands tied, kneeling before
a ditch of human bones.
My ex-boyfriend got measurably more attractive
and all I got was a dad bod.
Leonardo DiCaprio has a dad bod,
and for whatever reason this is reassuring to me.
Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
From an original rock painting in Topock, Arizona, now digitized on a
Before this city, the Creator pressed his staff
into the earth, and the earth opened—
The Dictator’s Message
we have swept
your homeland clean
of thorns and splinters
to make a record of your works
We’re driving and the radio says mass marine extinctions within a
generation. No silence, no sirens — an unflustered inflection, then
stock markets, cryptic as Latin mass. I force myself: the interval
i once shoved my foot through glass
getting to know my own anger
its patches of stupid
stress is just a socially acceptable
word for fear
The ancestors of everyone I’ve let into my body
are gathered in a small room with one window,
no lights. Yes, the room is crowded. Yes, there
are no chairs. Yes, they are talking. Why are we
Men prefer an island
With its beginning ended:
Undertones of waves
Men prefer a road
Convex and fossiled
When I was five I was put on a bus
and sent to Catholic school
not unlike my mother who was five
when she was put on a train
and sent to residential school,
both feeling that gut feeling
My sister is crying and crying
her tears grow to salt stormy showers
to rain and to rapids and rivers
they run to the sea to the sea.
My sister sobs softly she knows
It walks behind me in the park and proceeds
to walk slowly to get a good look It
Each day, I am apprenticed to the boy
I want to be.
He rifles the ball
and I catch it
or I fumble.
His red head ducks and weaves,
I remember my birth
like it was tomorrow, the unholy sensation
“I saw my land in the morning
and O but she was fair”
- M.G. Smith, “Jamaica” (1938)
Come see my land
they say we are a family that is good at death / i make a decision to hold
a seminar on how to live / i schedule this party for my uncles on the first
day of spring / my dead uncles play hooky with the afterlife
we learned to stand on one leg
clasping bundles of hope between our teeth
not because we wanted
to resemble flocks of black flamingos
Hands pressed to glass
One thousand eight hundred seconds.
Protest is not supposed to be comfortable.
had a dozen foster parents
tell me to run from my mother’s truth
the track marks up her arm,
The puck skates in on parted-snow ice.
It's the season’s last game, an encore
to stomach winter’s sliver, to shrug off
the townsfolk stares.
The moonlit night is advanced in years
Scrape the inside of sleep the belly wall
tasting like yoghurt cooked broccoli
its emptiness leaving something
on the tongue. Escaping the body
that wants to quit from the inside.
It was in a boardroom
that I witnessed the latest killing
A room filled with knowledgeable
trying to understand
what we offer
The night America took off her mask
we slept together poorly. I'd woken up early
that Tuesday, dragged myself to a gymnasium
in Jersey City to cast my vote into the void.
Life is short & I tell this to mis hijas.
Life is short & I show them how to talk
to police without opening the door, how
to leave the social security number blank
What's it like at the centre of the AGO?
Hmm. Imagine being coloured, drawn, and placed
in a wooden frame, another hung woman, positioned
gap tooth black girl
back corner of class
poetry on blank paper
save the school's
curriculum for later
I used to liken a poem to praying. Is that right?
Not the woo and gratitude praying served by queer witches.
Childhood praying. As a girl I genuflected to the tabernacle
The bodies are on the beach
And the bodies keep breaking
And the fight is over
But the bodies aren't dead
And the mayor keeps saying I will bring back the bodies
When Daniel Harris stepped out of his car
the policeman was waiting. Gun raised.
I use the past tense though this is irrelevant
in Daniel's language, which is sign.
No one else rescued me. Not my father
or my brother or, years later, the gentle man
who became my husband. Not my mother
or my best friend or any of the women
who listened to me tell my story
You can't be an NDN person in today's world
and write a nature poem. I swore to myself I would never write a nature
poem. Let's be clear, I hate nature — hate its guts
big ghosts contra
band my diction war
korea's north sees red as
america flags china's chopped limb
british crowns hong kong
cut for duplicity more capitalist than capitalist
Out of their torments men carved a flower
which they perched on the high plateaus of their faces
hunger makes a canopy for them
an image dissolves in their last tear
In Jerusalem, and I mean within the ancient walls,
I walk from one epoch to another without a memory
to guide me. The prophets over there are sharing
the history of the holy ... ascending to heaven
Ocean, don’t be afraid.
The end of the road is so far ahead
it is already behind us.
Don’t worry. Your father is only your father
until one of you forgets. Like how the spine
I come from the land of
Where You From?
My people dispossessed of their stories
and who have died again and again
in a minstrelsy of afterlives, wakes,
the dead who walk, waiting and
this is the transsensorium
there are indo-robo-women fighting cowboys on the frontier
& winning finally
the premodern is a foundation for the postmodern
wintermute, tessier-ashpool, armitage
If I am judged
If I am punished
If I am dismissed
If I am misunderstood
If I am celebrated
If I am envied
If I am competed with
If I am slandered against
If I am seen
My Black heroes don’t drop names like Fendi Gucchi Prada
My Black sheroes rock afros like Angela Davis and Assata
But my sheroes are more than a trend and they’re bigger than a hairstyle
for Alton Sterling, Andrew Loku, Philando Castile, et al.
I wanna live, son. But which son are you?
There where the rivers are made
of moonshine and the lights still wait,
I lost my talk
The talk you took away.
When I was a little girl
At Shubenacadie school.
You snatched it away:
I speak like you
I think like you
I create like you
(for the Chinese maroons, British Columbia, 1999–2001)
if you arrive in the belly of a rusting imagination, there are grounds to
outlaw you. but Canada is a remix B-side chorus in the globalization