Mother, I’m Confusing Myself with My Surroundings Again

Lock the door like a mouth behind you
get warm and again comfortable
stomp and shed your boots on my shag
say no to don’t I feel good inside
I wore everything on me for you

a naked back is at work in a field of mirror
my lungs are turning the ceiling round in blades
that sweep the room like pieces of finger
all of my poems and windows are gathered
for the opening of a decent body

I’m gonna kick the bucket one day
and you’re gonna wish you’d kept spooning me
say you want a raspberry say you want a bloodsucker
I made presents I made you a sheet of broken glass

I want the dust from your clothes
to collect into a man
let me against you mean a potent home
let it knock you out
let me lick you dead and here
it would not be hard
I want to shoot between your teeth

the front door is on fire
and weighs one hundred eighty pounds
fuck my closet right in the leopard
and what a domestic orgasm
if you are here, it’s how I called you

• • •

R&B Facts

All mermaids are black
and only hunt sailor men
who talk that fucknoise

Egypt is the proud grandmother
of Harlem and she sits back in her chair
with a switch in her hand

There is a brother
and a sister somewhere
just right for every child

If no black boys were murdered we
would have voices that speak in song
and the music we’d make would birth storms

We all can walk on water
as long as we never said
no anti-black shit

If we lit a candle for every pain
hurled towards the trans community
whole planets would be up in smoke

If we planted a tree for every word
against women the ground
would lose sight of the sun

A dead child’s name at the top of your lungs
like an earth-splitting lightning rod
has the power to remember them back

One in three black girls learn
to swim by being chased away from
the shallow end of a brown community pool

Two out of five black families know
death as that play cousin who sleeps over
under comforters on the living room floor

There are black hills that only grow
in the heat of the sun
made of thick curling hair

The ghosts of black slaves are waiting
in one big front room with good music
til their whole families are free

Melanin, it’s been proven, has endured
more than any beam of steel

The greek goddess of peaceful resistance
has died in a long-burning fire
and is buried in a fruitless urn

Nina Simone was born
in the 15th Century, her crib
was the bottom of a full boat

The bigger the hoops,
the braver the body

Armpit hair is permanently sexy,
acrylic nails start fires
in a heavy heart

Melanin bleeds a softness
wetter than silk

No one survives Etta James

The strongest homes are built
on onyx brick on muscle
covered in charcoal skin

Melanin is a blessing
that is ours like gold
melting in our hands

Melanin is light on every
surface of the day

There is no color on earth
that is not some child’s favorite

If every human stood shoulder to shoulder
it would make an iron castle
with beating veins between the walls

All of us laid head to head
is a river feeding an ocean
too black to swim