I, politically compromised, took

two cents from the homeless.

Tuned out trigger warnings

and walked through the unfamiliar

unarmed. There was Michigan’s blue

season, my tongue in cheek, campus

under snowflaked spell. Reform

was supposed to bring dark thoughts

to light and us to each other.

But tonight isn’t a safe space.

Tomorrow is far.

The creatives have thrown away

their curdled comedy for belonging’s

smooth song. What I’d give to speak

without signs or the too-convenient


head hung like accessory.

O poet at the fork, give up the grief

pretending to be art. Give up the lust

for diasporic blood.

The blood is not diasporic.

Your testimony is just a quick fix

and dawn will not remember

the eloquent nothing confessed. Truth is,

I don’t know how to handle pain either.

Which words to frame life

lived on the hyphen, fill in

blanked past? Afraid that flesh

will become fiction, I awake

screaming for a nerved body.     




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