After I read, the boy with the long, blonde, shaggy ponytail says, “your set was great, like, don’t be offended when I say this but, you remind me of Biggie Smalls.”

if i shouldn’t be offended | why do you say something you believe | has a chance of offending me | offend | meaning to hit | strike | against | when you say offend | do you mean the blackness is the strike | or the fatness is against me


he says this and | i become who he believes i am | my hands thicken | my fingers plump | my long twists shrivel into a short afro | my chin oceans a shadow | my cheeks tumor typhoons | my lips are fat pink | each | word | drags | itself | out | my | mouth | like a guarded hearse | each line | break | squeezes a song | a rap | a dance | beat for this boy tonight


biggie smalls | and i are both geminis | we are both twins | of each other | we both tar | dark | thick | it’s a wonder | how we heave | and heave | and weave | and stand | behind a mic a tall | we all | black and ugly as ever | however we spell well | B | I | G | all rhyme and good time | we both love it when you drive by | and call us | big | poppa | ain’t you ever been popped off | been shot at | been blown up like the world trade | don’t you like your meat center medium | brown skin rift | red nectar running off the curb of the plate


the difference between a fat black nigga rapping and a fat black dyke poeming is in the cadence of the eulogy spit | or | the difference between a fat black nigga rapping and a fat black dyke poeming is in the faith of the women who love to love us back


it is september 2016 | i am on a stage in texas reading poems outdoors | perspiration jogs from my tight curls and finds shelter along my lips | my underarms are a swamp | and still | i do a rap i wrote | and they laugh | despite the heat they sing along | arms reach up | in surrender | i am a secular god | a holy holy | words jetting out like jamboree |and i worry | i look too much like |a concert | like black joy leaping | like a hip hop song in the 80’s | a house party walled in saturation | like summer time | like somebody | everybody | wanna be a part of | like a sweet jam sweatin | blasting | juicy

The Electric Slide is Not a Dance, Man!

I wanna privy you to a little secret. Come close now. Good. So, what you need to know is the electric slide is not a dance. It's a transmission code. What I'm trying to tell you is every time I need to leave here, every time I need to get to a place that feels like my mama’s cooking or my brother’s cackle booming from soot, I sound the gathering. I bring out the trumpets and horns whenever I need to shake this crypt dust settling my bones. I turn my stereo up. Just the other day, so-and-so tells me he wants me to teach ‘im the moves. I can’t teach style, can't learn blood to pound to a drum pulse so slick, it glide. So free, it ain’t. Can't teach ‘im, or nobody else who not from where we from what's innate. I mean, man, shit, there is a place I need to get to, a grin I need to spread, a quaking of my foundation ungrounded from laughter. The codes an impenetrable thing; how the slide is sauve, how the count off for the take off is the dip low, the count out. The down swing recollects our plot of land on this earth. Picking a leg high, a knee raised, a turn to the left is the way we know to leave our massacre behind, man. The dance floor is a square padlock you can't crack. Each space we take there is meant for us to occupy. Each brethren is attached to our side, our fronts, our backs. This pattern is a shield against depression or hunger hanging out of someone's blue eyes. Our bodies arrange a constellation in memory of the boy who was slain with no indictment, for the guillotined girl who went forgotten, for the housing stacked like the gut of the ship, the dogs and the waters. The blast off happens insync and our spirits rupture ceilings. We ritual. Sacred. Secret. Originators of a beat cascading. The electric slide is how we leave here, how we ascend. This kinship is how we get to a place named joy, and go home. That's blood, history, man. Ain’t no teaching that.

Twerk Villanelle

For Valentine

my girl positioned for a twerk session-
             knees bent, hands below the thigh, tongue out, head
turned to look at her body’s precession. 

she in tune. breath in. breasts hang. hips freshen. 
            she slow-wine. pulse waistline to a beat bled
for her, un-guilt the knees for the session.

fair saint of vertebrae- backbone blessing,
            her pop- in innate. her pop- out self- bred,
head locked into her holied procession. 

dance is proof she loves herself, no questions-
            no music required, no crowd needed. 
she arched into a gateway, protecting-

this dance is proof she loves me, no guessing. 
            a bronx bedroom, we hip-to-hip threaded. 
she turn to me, tranced by her possessin’. 

she coils herself to, calls forth a legend-
round bodied booty, bounce a praise ballad.
she break hold, turn whole in a twerk session. 
body charmed, spell-bent, toward progressing.

We Drink at the Attenuation Well

Motivated forgetting is a psychological defense mechanism whereby people cope with threatening and unwanted memories by suppressing them from consciousness.
            —Amy N. Dalton and Li Huang

              in Badagry there is a hung-
              ry well of water and memory


                                                         loss. in Badagry there was a well 
                                                         of people lost across a haven 


of water. in Badagry there was
a port overwhelmed in un-return. 


                                    to omit within the mind is to ebb
                                    heavenward. memory is a wealth 


                                                      choking the brain in un-respons-
                                                      ibility. violence in the mind and 


                                    the mind forgets in order to remember
                                    the self before the violence begot. 


in Badagry trauma washes ungod-
ly memory heavenward. in Bad-


                                       agry there is an attenuation well 
                                       meant to wish away a passage, 


                                                                      meant to unhaven a people.
                                                                      violence is underwhelming


                                         in return. what the body eats, 
                                         the mind waters. responsible 


is the memory for un-remittal. 
royal is the body for return. god is


                                     the mind for wafting. forgetting 
                                     is a port homeward. in Bad- 


                                                   agry hungry memory grows angry.
                                                   in Badagry the memories un- 


                 choke. trauma un-eats the royal. 
                 in Badagry there is a heaven 


                                               of people responsible for the birth- 
                                               right of remembering, for the well 


                                      of us across a haven of water
                                      overwhelmed in un-return.