The Winter Poetry Issue: Aziza Barnes


*the hoarded currency where my mother dies is of course of course a book.*

*for Toi Derricotte*

There’s a page missing. I ate it.

So even if you believe me you’ll

never know if any page was missing

& that word huh *missing*

are you just an unmarried woman & around?

*Miss—ing* or a snake hitting

on a snake? *missssssssssssssssssssssssssssss ssssssssssssssssssssing*? or in the realm

of *excuse me? miss*, in you had it now the

land do? miss: a gender decided by a pointed

finger a chide from great

aunt as in: *lil’ miss* *& you ain’t*

*know what it’s like* *out there* & I want to chat back:

*I fucked a man as wide as a tree stump Sequoia last night in him car in that alley there baby I*

*don’t play I was just a real bad time to come up with 300 bucks how can you say*

*he is a destination? you don’t know how to read.*

If the trees are black women, then lynching is the cruelty of a true God. The trees looked upon the white men & women & children & said, You brought my man home wrong. I will. I will kill you for this. & so the world began to melt away, & the white men lost their fortune. Oil unbecame. & the last Black man alive lives. His vineyard is an orchard is always howling. An army of the living God.

They might kill me. They might take my names & eat them whole. They might take my body & for sport, put me up with child. They might take my blood & break the line. They might take my paper & I’d be annoyed & broke. They might push me lightly so I die from a bump on my head at home where I live with no one but myself. They might make me a demon & have me haint the ones I love for generations & curse them. They have. & I still win, baby.

I masturbated,

2 fingers in my

pussy the other 2

on my clit. Came

into my fingers, index

& middle. Saw the clear film of accomplishment

& blew it into a small bubble.

I laughed at the product of my lust,

lust of the women

dancing in my head, lust no

bill can unname. So fuck y’all:

the Confederate. The SAVE THE FLAG

Klan. Even though you

only meet on Sunday’s when

I’m usually at home,

masturbating, in spite of

you. Well. In absence

of you. Who thinks

of you but me? I do

give you life, don’t I?

Thank you Beyonce. Praise

the end of the world.

I nodded my head at a Confederate flag supporter I happened upon today. He was on his Harley. He nodded back. He revved his engine so loud I jumped. Then they all did. Then they left. And my grandfather’s voice in my head screamed don’t walk with your eyes on your feet.


how long has it been?

Right in the their of they theyness we always been an exhale to this holy situation

For those ain’t down with a modified yes that sick body permutation of

nah son nah & the please to expel. For those: our work is at the break of English. Remezcla: freak

it: turn it up &

out & out: a way

out of: a sugar pro-

tip: a be it how you

be it how you say the

damn thing & induce

the live. Live. We must.

Live, okay. War time

a gwan so the Trumphead

decree. Jericho that jawn. Jericho that jawn

into the gully. We gully.

& for when a one of this might of this motley of this kin good in

a garden speaking in fine spindles to the rain for when one is not: a theolonious approach:

stand up in the middle of your mean reds make the world suspend beneath a clamor-dance then sit your ass

down & remember your song. A standard of don’t touch me unless I

say ain’t the worst thing to happen to a single body. Take my word

for it. & you have my word.

*Aziza Barnes is blk & alive. Born in Los Angeles, Aziza currently lives in Oxford, Mississippi. Aziza’s first chapbook,* (1) *, was the first winner of the Exploding Pinecone Prize, from Button Poetry and first full length collection of poems,* (2) *, is the winner of the 2015 Pamet River Prize with YesYes Books. Aziza is a co-host of The Poetry Gods and co-founder of The Conversation Literary Festival.*

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