Your Whole Black Mouth
after Danez Smith
Your whole Black mouth is an O your whole Black scream is a tunnel of rampage your whole world is a hood within a hood your people may not be your people Your Whole Black mouth begs to be heard. Your whole Black legacy is the aftermath of Mississippi burning Your whole family migrated from the South when it released its hostages descendants of Africa your family may not be your family Your whole Black mouth spits more lies than it has tasted truths Your whole Blackness is a concept created by criminals who came on the Mayflower seeking asylum your whole future was shaped by psychos your destiny does not end with an O Your whole Black mouth will speak its reality.
We are Coming for Our Language
In the history of words suffragettes fighting for rights
badges of honor queer an insult to some but a fortune
to others who wish to tell it slant & mingle fact with fiction
as they try to copyright our words we must reclaim our names
This appropriation is unnecessary for the power of language
has been distorted & used against us
This is unacceptable our culture will not be tainted our words
will not be appropriated we will veto this wrong an offensive
sting a symbol of irrational actions now in play must be
restricted by law singled out for the corruption that it is
& present itself for intense scrutiny for our language is at stake
Shirley Jones-Luke is a poet and a writer. Ms. Luke lives in Boston, Mass. She has an MFA from Emerson College. Her poems mix poetry with memoir. Shirley has been published in Adanna, Deluge, and Willawaw. She will be attending VONA in June 2018.