The Poetry Project

wound / vision

imogen xtian smith

The boss bitch is not my sister, not the nation & she ain’t my mother.
i say i’m a traveler not a conqueror, nor am i passive either.
There are bodies yearning inside me & we vibe. At the secret rave
in Prospect dark the dancing’s erratic post so much sick.
We take poppers off PrEP(py) gays who in before times
sneered at my wholly repurposed cock. Imagine utopia,
disability informed. i like to come off loose & unsettled,
as if counter narratives negate all complicit. Doesn’t
everyone want these drugs, these kinks, these particular beats
& wood? A vision is just that—whoever’s & yours & y’all talk.

i fuck myself often as body allows, deep as i can & a little
plus. The erotic’s a channel to what i know i don’t yet know—
shy inside, bend me over, help me understand anything
at all. If utopia is ecological, speech acts sown & spun,
what’ll we squeeze from the gut rot of capital?
You see a wound is just that—it’s a vision.
A ziploc full of mangos from a woman in the tunnel. Subway,
she elder. The total ecstasy of fruit in summer. The pleasures
of juice stick fingers to tongue. A poem says look up look sideways
see the web laced fierce. Yes i’m naïve & a poem is anything.

Try quiet or talk all the time who cares. Herbert Von King
& Covid summer—babes at a distance, squat in the bush, weed-
splayed ballpark all a league of their own—it’s small things
get you over. Take holy mother Sylvia’s big plush bear or every pic
of pups & Arca. Take Beverly Glenn-Copeland any morning, dawning
my paint splattered Malcolm X-Betts. i wear lockets & smocks
& denim on wool, tie-dye with rhinestone or hoops. Crushes, sweet
crushes EROTICS OF SNUGGLE scribbled in spiral, all caps
like Juliana Huxtable. Sometimes pop songs jet me outta time,
mostly reify it. O’ nostalgia, dreary of cards—here is the life

i’ve lived. Cup, coin, staff, sword, the dog doesn’t fall it’s the Fool.
A wound, friend, is just that. In the city i hear everything.
Lie—i lift what’s mine to hold. Out in the street an I joins we
& we march, shout, crouch & lock arms you you you & you—
INTIFADA INTIFADA <clap clap clap> caps again like June Jordan
& the voice in my throat goes gravel, set to gut by blood bound
ancestors traipsing where they should not go. Me—i’m pavement,
step step step over stolen ground, hello. i don’t think
the world lets people be good & so we do what we do,
we do it here, in the world.

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