TWO POEMS by Jonah Mixon-Webster


OVERTURE FOR...

We went . coming

for façade

caused fish-hook in flesh

got jaw caught up on muscle

got new language

called it affirmation

spoke it too soon

got it called “propaganda”

or some other stigmatic

to drape out the

though our names go on

out of these little compartments: masc

before fem / top

before bottom

hashtag: strict

hashtag: power—

How it was done

is how we found ourselves,

sloppy

left hanging

[left]

center, never

justified never proportioned,

always

skewed

always

lip gaped

and

skewered

all us scared qua

scarred victim

as if victim means one

is already dead

in a mouth

when conjuring up

a future body—

In “We”

“I” wakes up like this/

stirred

by hollow voice

heard it say, “Here

take my mouth,

it will sing for us

when we have gotten

where we’re trying to go”

BALLAD FOR...

We’d been eating agave,

long night

sucked back limes

‘til were wilted

and worn sodden, we watched

them bury sand

with their bodies,

scrape shoulder blades

towards cliff

edging each other on

deeper further

yet some remain

a long wait,

just haven’t gotten off—

Where we was

is some forgotten logarithm

of hands

showering over,

beading off

each other’s foreheads

as if some indigenous androgyny,

as if

we had no need to be man

enough—

Was wild how we traveled

narrow terrain trying to find it all

really, though

acting like we wanted nothing,

hell naw,

none of that yet,

O’ how a knee finds a knee

while doing everything

we shouldn’t, while sitting

closer than we should,

while talking shit,

playing the game drenching our stomachs

with bumpy face anything

to ease the mind tuning

to Bone

or Wu

everything we’ve been taught

not to say falling apart

before the ruggish pit between us

the hair on our legs

bridging, a rub in-

cognito a smile

shown to the side

we go on

in the feeling, I think

“If he don’t move his,

I’m damn sure not moving mine…”

We were bent

corners in a Buick,

colored nickel

wuz no sound

wuz no static

on the radio,

I had gotten lit

“…. fire water….”

“ … my throat…”

and did not remember

how my hand got on his thigh,

his thigh now stretched

beyond

and we

started rapping

about

dashboard his

were rapping over [tha] dashboard

we

were by the air—

Perhaps,

dance was the way

fingertips needle

the eye of a crooked leg

becoming the spark

behind a tongue,

craving

its reciprocal, never mind

who it was, who

said what, who did it first.

We, us both in our wanting,

became the idea of dream

of misremembering

how we got there—

We drunk back

sweat having just

drummed a bridge

out my hands

into his lower,

when the then-self

had slipped,

got cradled softly

and backslid

against tongue—

JONAH MIXON-WEBSTER is a poet, sound artist, and educator from Flint, MI. He is a Ph.D. candidate in English Studies at Illinois State University where he is currently writing the dissertation "Stereo(TYPE): A Paracolonial Approach to Black Poetry in the 21st Century." His poetry and hybrid writing are featured in Spoon River Poetry Review, Small Po[r]tions, Blueshift Journal, Assaracus, Callaloo, LA Review of Books' Voluble, Love Letters to Spooks, and the anthology Zombie Variations Symposium. ​

<Kristin Chang ** Justin Phillip Reed>