EXODUS II by Jari Bradley

There is home nowhere—
not even as I stand center
of the Eureka valley

 

prideless, the heft
of myself crushed

from all sides in a sea

 

of glitter and white
faces that don’t care
if my black ass never

 

breathes again under
their rainbow—

in all the ways my body

 

stands outside the object
of their desire—

I am 21 in the Castro

 

the first time my name
is pronounced nigger
burning at all four

 

corners inside the eyes
of a stammering white
girl drunk off the hubris

 

of her cherished skin—
I am fit to be no one’s
pup or dark fetish

 

I have no Master

to lord over me beneath
an arched entrance

 

or alleyway or muni station
and I accept that dark

its exit forged in fire—

all that flame searing my blood.

 

JARI BRADLEY is a black genderqueer poet and scholar from San Francisco, California. Jari has received fellowships from Callaloo, Cave Canem, and Tin House. Their work has been featured in the Huffington Post, and is listed by Blavity among "15 Creatives in the Bay Area You Should Know." Jari's work has also been published or forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, MARY: A Journal of New Writing, Callaloo, Hot Metal Bridge, Nomadic Ground Press, The Virginia Quarterly Review, BOAAT Journal, The Offing, and Punctum Books’ Anti-Racism, Inc: Why the Way We Talk About Racial Justice Matters. Jari has an M.A. in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University, and is an MFA candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. They currently serve as Poetry Editor of the University of Pittsburgh literary magazine, Hot Metal Bridge.

 

 

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