Theme for English B

The instructor said,


Go home and write

a page tonight.

And let that page come out of you —

Then, it will be true.


I wonder if it’s that simple?

I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.

I went to school there, then Durham, then here

to this college on the hill above Harlem.

I am the only colored student in my class.

The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem,

Happy Birthday Moon

Dad reads aloud. I follow his finger across the page.

Sometimes his finger moves past words, tracing white space.

He makes the Moon say something new every night

to his deaf son who slurs his speech.


Sometimes his finger moves past words, tracing white space.

Tonight he gives the Moon my name, but I can’t say it,

his deaf son who slurs his speech.

Dad taps the page, says, try again.


Tonight he gives the Moon my name, but I can’t say it.

Leonardo DiCaprio

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 one an Oscar

for his lead role in The Revenant.

Leonardo DiCaprio was almost killed by a bear

in said movie. But alas, he wasn’t.

I Have yet to see The Revenant,

but only because there ain’t nothing special

about a settler who defies death

while NDNs drop like flies around him.

from Exhibits from the American Water Museum


From an original rock painting in Topock, Arizona, now digitized on a

wall-mounted monitor:


Before this city, the Creator pressed his staff

into the earth, and the earth opened—


it wasn’t a wound, it was joy—joy!—!

Out of this opening leaped earth’s most radical bloom: our people—


we blossoms from the original body: water,

flowering and flowing until it became itself, and we, us:

                                              River. Body.


Dick Pics

Two dicks, sitting in

my daughter’s inbox,

like men without hats,

waiting for any door

to open. 



Sighting a stranger’s penis

used to be rare. Remember raincoats?

Like a flash of lightning,

like a Scratch ‘N Win ticket –

sometimes glittering knock-off watches,

sometimes a flapping penis

shivering in the electric air.



Overcooked hotdog?

Aborted fetus?

Close up of a thumb?

Rolled baloney on a lonely deli plate?


i thought it was ok - i could understand the reasons

they said there might be young children or a nervous man seeing

this small piece of flesh that they weren’t quite expecting

so i whispered and tiptoed with nervous discretion


but after six months of her life spent sitting on lids

as she sips on her milk, nostrils sniffing up shit

banging her head on toilet-roll dispensers

i wonder whether these public-loo feeds offend her


The Fatigue

The Fatigue is just fatigue. It

sprays my body like

a numbing agent. Say the

way I sleep might not be

working, say the way I eat

might not be working.

Hope to god the meds

start working. The other day

she said you need firmer

boundaries. Sometimes

this looks like an earlier

bedtime. Fuel your body

with hope that something

might change. Like a bowl of rice

steaming, put it in your mouth

and huff, too quick, too impatient

but if nothing changes, keep

The New School

Do you remember, Nancy,

when we sat in the Creole restaurant

and glanced up at the television to see students running

with their hands in the air and photographs

of two young men?

Their angular faces. Trench coats.

We didn’t understand what was happening,

our brains felt like mush, it wasn’t the wine,

it was like being in a foreign country,

on the street corner, at a hospital,

struggling to understand or be heard.


This morning, on the way to work,

The ABG (Able-Bodied Gaze)


                    Itwatches                   alwayswatches

It walks behind me in the park and proceeds

to walk slowly to get a good look It

follows&follows&follows           &watches&watches

&watches               I turn around      and

         Itlooksaway                        I begin to walk as

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