Ode to XXIV

I made a mess of you—

spilled myself over every day

like an uncertain sky.

Fell fickle as the sunset.


Lost so much of myself

I called you a year of rain.

Called you sacrament

or a rainbow’s promise. In


& out of love & you: desire

run astray ascending a new peak

of rage. Caught you running over

my skin some dawns. Striking


at monuments of white men

with a biblical fervor.

We watched a black man fail

so spectacularly a mass of ash


rose up into a pillar of salt

at his leaving. Now we march

so often it is perpetually spring.

Almost warm enough for the bare-


ness of a body to declare itself

boldly. We step out of line with

every sharp turn of Movement

without finesse. Can’t stand


a chant without hips, a chant

without an ounce of sweat

to show for itself. Squicking signs

say “We are all immigrants”


& we laugh so hard. Shake loose

a spirit or two. They say

We want more than a witness.

The drum. Ring shout. Trans at—


I pick up a pen & tap out

a trail of bones. My blood

rhythm raises to a roof’s height.

My nerves run


at a premonition’s pace. I am

troubled. Always. A soon-to-be

clap of thunder. Can’t wait ‘til

the heat comes. I’m over skies


of small showers easily swallowed.

I aspire to storms. Await the sovereign-

ty of fire. Song of Baldwin

come home to roost.


11:59 on the last day

of my twenty-fourth year.

Pen making me an indelible mess.

Pen making me a defiant wound.