TWO POEMS by Jonah Mixon-Webster




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,




                            left hanging




                                                            center, never


justified                never proportioned,








            lip gaped






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/




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




  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




and we


                                         started rapping




             dashboard            his


were rapping             over [tha] dashboard




                                    were          by the air—




dance was the way


fingertips needle


the eye                                   of a crooked leg


  becoming the spark


behind a tongue,                   




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>






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