Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

We Don’t ( ) Anymore and other poems

Virgie Ezelle Patton, Black 'm-Oceans: Inclined to Sleep

Image Credit: Virgie Ezelle Patton, Black ‘m-Oceans: Inclined to Sleep, (1985-2012), Oil on Canvas, 55 x 48, Courtesy the Ezelle-Patton Family Collection

We Don’t (    ) Anymore

we don’t bare our teeth anymore
no grit or disgruntled out in public
keep your mouth a closeted fist
keep your mouth a closed tomb
keep your mouth a wired phone
careful not to spill out too many too many’s
careful not to show yourself worthy of fear

we don’t bare our teeth anymore
no twilights gone beaming
no fireworks in the middle of a january day
some of us have learned our place
some of us have lost our space
some of us have decided a truck is better
sat in not driven a sunset better imagined not seen

we don’t bare our teeth anymore
audre lorde told me she bared her teeth
until she died      a toothless grin      the size of the earth
audre lorde told me not to grin & bear it
audre lorde told me her pussy was not a place
for pondering or polishing or pedestrians

The Little Girl is her Own Crucible

when i watched the little girl traverse the snow
i noticed she was not afraid of the wet
or frigid
or slip
& i wondered what person will deflate her
what natural catastrophe will bury her alive
what person will act as rogue clipper
& chop her down to the quick
in what year will she be spat on
or drop-kicked
or mutilated
or humiliated
or dehumanized
or blacklisted
when she falls her mother tries to pick her up
but she is happy rolling in the snow
& she traces her imprint as if she knows
there will be a time
when she could easily be outlined