after June Jordan

Nightly my enemies feast on my comrades
like maggots on money. Money being my enemy

as plastic is my enemy. My enemy everywhere
and in my home as wifi is

a money for me to reach my comrades
and kills my house plants. My enemy

is distance growing dark, distance growing
politely in my pocket as connection.

I must become something my enemies can’t eat, don’t have
a word for yet, my enemies being literate as a drone is

well-read and precise and quiet, as when I buy something
such as a new computer with which to sing against my enemies,
there is my enemy, silent and personal.

More by Taylor Johnson

Derrida/Coleman

Were it possible, I would be naked. Of the nude philosophy:
consider the globalization of the expensive american sound. 

Should we worry? We should work. I believe you’re right.
I distrust the word “white.” It’s sanctified propaganda. 

Repetition is my language of origin, the highest technology. Anyway
the body is only mine provisionally. For reasons that I’m not sure of,
I am convinced that before becoming music, music was only a word. 

I prefer to destroy the composer, renew the concept.
Extraordinary limitation playing freedom.

W 177th & Broadway

All night you eyed the man I wanted to be;
my jaw flexed tight. Anger slipped into
desire. Easily he would rise. Easily you would
disperse, pleasure made into light:
what you want under him,
I put on to amuse—I, your worked
supplicant. Yes, love is looking away.
My desire greened in your dismissal. Was
technicolor and twilight-made and never
turning off. The city air hung humid
above our charade. What need I could fill:
to transubstantiate, to unravel?

Nocturne

What was rampant in me was not wisteria. Perhaps decay, or loss of reflection.

No one like me gets old, or so I thought, even as I watched the days fade into each other.

Was I no one? Which phrase means a grown-up girl: mica-gilded; pure myth; gone?

Thoreau might say I was trying to find the door to nothingness, that the wild was already in me.

However, I walked out my bed to find my skin, only to return moondrunk, bramble-laden,

stripped to sinew, a broken syntax. No denying how I got here, I laid down among the tall grass

and came up a specter. I came up everywhere.

Related Poems

I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies

Dedicated to the Poet Agostinho Neto,
President of The People’s Republic of Angola: 1976

1
I will no longer lightly walk behind
a one of you who fear me:
                                     Be afraid.
I plan to give you reasons for your jumpy fits
and facial tics
I will not walk politely on the pavements anymore
and this is dedicated in particular
to those who hear my footsteps
or the insubstantial rattling of my grocery
cart
then turn around
see me
and hurry on
away from this impressive terror I must be:
I plan to blossom bloody on an afternoon
surrounded by my comrades singing
terrible revenge in merciless
accelerating
rhythms
But
I have watched a blind man studying his face.
I have set the table in the evening and sat down
to eat the news.
Regularly
I have gone to sleep.
There is no one to forgive me.
The dead do not give a damn.
I live like a lover
who drops her dime into the phone
just as the subway shakes into the station
wasting her message
canceling the question of her call:
fulminating or forgetful but late
and always after the fact that could save or 
condemn me

I must become the action of my fate.

2
How many of my brothers and my sisters
will they kill
before I teach myself
retaliation?
Shall we pick a number? 
South Africa for instance:
do we agree that more than ten thousand
in less than a year but that less than
five thousand slaughtered in more than six
months will
WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME?

I must become a menace to my enemies.

3
And if I 
if I ever let you slide
who should be extirpated from my universe
who should be cauterized from earth
completely
(lawandorder jerkoffs of the first the
                   terrorist degree)
then let my body fail my soul
in its bedeviled lecheries

And if I 
if I ever let love go
because the hatred and the whisperings
become a phantom dictate I o-
bey in lieu of impulse and realities
(the blossoming flamingos of my
                   wild mimosa trees)
then let love freeze me
out.
I must become
I must become a menace to my enemies.

ED ASNER

“...style...”

Grind me Nautica, Vic Tayback.
Line chef para Alice arm hair,
fore-sausage & anchor tat,
snatch, a silvered chest, V-
neck, sleep hard Weezy—
Zebra-Jive-Turkey.

As in how do you do that?
Glimpse, a tad, pecking
the surface glaze, or Dove
Men+Care. iNot be puppy breath,
tan streak down the cheek, scar,
or Bowie’s bass: VANILLA ICE 

tricks a pompadour. Jim Carrey
a detour, when slips the tongue.
Airborne pellet in seltzer fizz. ED— 
father had a junk business...barrels 
of jimmied pistols...they wouldn’t fire 
...but they were good for kids.

Currency

a pocket can sometimes be
a kind of prison,

I have never lived in
a cash economy where the bill

fold unfolds to find someone
creased in the middle,

but perhaps credit moves
the same, the way it scores

the pocket and the body
boxed and bureaued

the edge of a card
cuts anything  akin to skin

a Dollar, a Euro, a World
Bank, a debt to erase, a wait

a race, a weight.