The Poetry Project

POETRY: Charleen McClure

gimme the loot

grease the geese & gimme that good good
gold spider in auntie’s mouth crouched
up high on the top shelf near that bag of coins yes
i mean her tongue cash loaded—open
the registry open the cell that door that
lazarus walked through
i want the money
making grandma’s skin fat pockets of air
to share with the homies that bread
where the ribcage splits like ships
from the same port sternum on lung & lung
on beat that vault that bank of bone
sewn in the traffic of breath & flesh that bodies
obey—if i ask
start the car on everything i’d burn
i expect fools to keep they hands off
my sisterbrothercousinand‘em i’m
not asking i’m slipping the rolex off the wrist
of History this ain’t a game the flux and swerve
law of paper states stacks on stacks on stacks
past present & future
in a braid like cane or corn cotton—
pay me: every song
is about my baby’s mamas
mamas mamas mamas mamas since always

& forever in my mouth all of time
all they eyes watching behind my teeth

Charleen McClure is from Atlanta by way of London. She is a graduate of Agnes Scott and Hunter College, receiving a Bachelor’s in English-Literature and a Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, respectively. She has received fellowships from The Conversation, US Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, VONA, and Cave Canem. A 2016 Pushcart-nominee, she is also a Fulbright scholar. Her work has been published in Muzzle, Mosaic, Kinfolks Quarterly, and African Voices.

#254 February / March 2018