New Orleans sidewalk sign

Description of Poem from Identifying the Body

The artist’s recent collection, published by The Word Works, 2018:


Rage is most often produced from a perception of “rejected love.”


Is my body mine or yours?

Who are you?—the State, my 

ex, my son, my friend

someone I meet online?

Is the body that is sometimes mine


What do I know about this body?

I know it is dark

From darkest to lightest, it is almost the darkest a

body can be—that dark, that black

My body has been entered for its blackness

It is capable of arousing meaning

Its darkness can cause what blackness means to

others to vibrate. It can make them want to enter

make them want to touch, make them simply

want some

a some mysterious even to me

I’ve been accused of pretending to be

oblivious of my body’s power

its power to incite

One cavalier stroker of my blackness suggested that I am a


that my desire to use my body to

gain stroking trumps my desire to stroke others

Not so

My lust to touch others has rarely been met

I inherited a deep reticence from my mother

My father was indiscriminate in the uses of his body

no doubt that is why he died young

taking in what he ought not

fucking, puking, shitting in the wrong places

My body learned early who to mistrust

My lack of trust has not deterred the touchers

the looks

the queries about how this all works

My body made two sons

Each time I thought I would die

As they came through me they had zero thought for my


Sweat poured from me and I wept at the possible loss

I do love them now

I can use my body to calm things down

I’m told so again and again

More and more I use it that way—

to say grace