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SELF-PORTRAIT OF THE BLK GIRL BECOMING THE BEAST EVERYONE THOUGHT SHE WAS

By I.S. Jones

the moon is my first emotion             then beast     then happy rage
  depending on a zealous appetite

i pull bobby pins                from the kitchen of my scalp       tear out nails

one by one     pluck out the lashes              yank docile teeth             

                       fold the skin back by the mouth                          i release my human flesh & night drops

            blue wolves circle the block in acute madness
dreaming in gun smoke & new names to pick their fangs clean

                                    the moon sways blood & voices behind yellow eyes,
                                    each of the names bow inside me.

i grin       & the moon is an anxious pulse                i, a hungry one

                         in overexposure, the moon could make anything feral
            i only eat a macabre light & the night is so sweet on my tongue

                  fear makes the blue wolves multiply

the moon rummages through the light of my name like a vagrant beggar
            tills the blood in my four-legged body

                      born non-white & woman, call the thing what it is:

hostile        uppity           neck-rolls        hips without the logic       mean-mugs       vengeful at the root   


            but you’ve only known        my mercy
 
a snatched tongue: polite hands: crossed legs: a settled throat: plea and please two hands on the same body

                                    never my unhinged joy

in my first language—the cease of blood before writhing—

                                    the push back

knuckling of bone & sinew             a blue neck caught inside a maw & how each muscle negotiates

            before severing

god of the faithful night,                          teach me to lose my mouth in reverie

            to laugh in my predator’s blood                    to let it fill my belly

how it trickles                         through the floorboard of my teeth


 

 

Listen as  I.S. Jones reads "SELF-PORTRAIT OF THE BLK GIRL BECOMING THE BEAST EVERYONE THOUGHT SHE WAS".

Added: Friday, February 19, 2021  /  Used with permission.
I.S. Jones
Nicholas Nichols

I.S. Jones is a queer American Nigerian poet and music journalist. She is a Graduate Fellow with The Watering Hole and holds fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT Writer’s Retreat, and Brooklyn Poets. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Guernica, Washington Square Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hobart Pulp, The Rumpus, The Offing, Shade Literary Arts, Blood Orange Review, and elsewhere. Her work was chosen by Khadijah Queen as a finalist for the 2020 Sublingua Prize for Poetry. She is an MFA candidate in Poetry at UW–Madison as well as the Inaugural 2019-2020 Kemper K. Knapp University Fellowship recipient. Her chapbook Spells Of My Name is forthcoming with Newfound in 2021.

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