Welcome To Washington Heights

The pimp is my manager,
He says he is my Fantasy;
He says I like it when he hits me,
This is not make believe.

When I was six or seven,
I dreamt of fairy castles,
Now I bleed three times a week
And take my alcohol.

I find comfort in his violence,
That’s what he said I thought;
Trouble doesn’t have a pitch,
I don’t associate with people

Any more, but him.
I must be happy for clients,
I am a Texan cargo train,
I am the Houston skyline.

He gives me warnings
Not to go on the run,
Sometimes punches me too much.
A room incarcerates

With sheets of shallow pink
And I think there they all go
On the freeway with
Their health insurances

And bungalows with lawns
Neatly mown; in time their cars
Turn on these headlamps,
Light up the furthest wall.

On Being Brave

Sometimes bravery feels far away,
Like plantations in New Mexico,
Or statues in a concrete-grey
Of Edith Cavell, or the Arapaho

In Wyoming. Sometimes, nondisclosure
Of memory’s easier than being brave
In the face of his granite exposure;
With less closure, there’s more we crave.

He takes Youth and has our age depraved,
He takes Hope’s wings, our flight’s delayed;
Know this, in Time your role is saved;
Let go of the years, alone and afraid.

On golden platters he gave you some money,
Enough to buy sheers for a hedge;
He held your waist and called you ‘Honey’
In a pool-side photo he would allege

Later like all the others were taken
By someone else, paid long ago;
Bravery will slowly awaken
When money in their mouths we sow.

His words were the same as the rifle
Demeaning and strafing the souls,
Don’t leave free speech a disciple
To the spades for filling the hole.

Keep bravery close to your chest,
Like medals pinned to your coat;
On eternal journeys he is bereft,
Descending in a mulberry boat.

 

Mixtape

The local crows on fire
Were used as projectiles
Into the pit where the women
Would sit while a cleric
Determined the extent
Of their irreligiousness.

When I was a teenager
I made you a mixtape
On a TDK ferrite strip,
And if the tape chewed up
On your Walkman
We could fix it, with a pencil.

These are the same two worlds
But my hurt is displaced
For Asia, and Malala, and every
Other recepient of man-made
Injustice and medals of pain.
Mine is not the same, yet
The tape bobbed on the river.

Libertas / Columbia

There is verdigris
Where copper plates
And audiences

With top hats
And massive moustaches
Used to be,

The great weights
Welded pre-Dreyfus
Excommunications

Shielded your aorta
And encased liberty
Before the disease.

Now ferry-fetched
Tourists who delight
In the Bedloe Island

Greenery tag you
On Instagram veneries
Whilst unknowing

Of your origins
In the patisseries
Of sculptors

In Paris and
Amsterdam, and your
Expedition in bonds

On barges, in parts;
Locals flocked
To riverside paths

To cheer you off;
Ceremonies, champagne
Bottle shards bobbled,

Magnums, Jeroboams,
Signifying nothing
In the frothy water.

They did not endure
Your journey over
The Atlantic blight,

Now tourists flock
Like a mazurka
Of seagulls;

New frock,
Statuesque,
In that capital

Men use coins
For the crossings
Which also turn to green.

In time, perhaps their
Souls do too,
As they stand and salute

In front of a diluted
Version of you,
On an island

Of the self,
On a sheet of green,
By a European shop window.

Me Too

Why a world and his wife,
Why from a man’s rib made,
You call me trouble and strife,
So why by the male-god be saved.

Why have the woman-word devolved,
It only meant a man’s wife;
And bridegroom’s meaning men evolved
To nurture your longer life.

A prince lives in a photograph,
A film-maker eats jack-mack for tea,
Forensic professionals are understaffed,
I do not want these saints preserving me.

For parity, there are now no actresses,
Perpetuate the man-made myth;
The billionaire’s now using laxatives,
It’s the actors who should have been done away with.

A crowd could be a world and her husband,
Watch as we burn the words at the stake,
Written by femicidists who bludgeoned
From Santiago, to Sheffield, and Salt Lake.