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>

 

 

 

 

 

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