Two Poems By Shirley Jones-Lucas

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.