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Two Poems

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what is the word for the realization that your language never loved
you? you are a red thing / scattered, sad map of

where is that word?

maybe your friends cannot exist within the glitch.

there are lapses of justice / of memory / of time before the body is
covered / before those left to mourn lapse into savagery, which the
friends say they (just) cannot abide.

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel

to break down and busy up the house next door
I hear them drone in my dead sleep hammering
my head against the brick chest of a bright morning
outside one heaves his whole belly beneath
a box full of toilet and another in the road yells
gotdamn his back hurts just watching and there's
a hole in the street beside him and inside that
another white man and don't you know
I don't care who he is or where he'd rather be
or how hungry his ragamuffins or how fucked up
his own toilet I want that hole to shut
him up and the asphalt to lick its lips and that
I don't care what wanting this makes me
looks like what they've called freedom I want
these holes in my back shut up I want the dead
boy inside me to bury white men alive yes
all of them in his gut I snap the teeth of my blinds
down because don't I know every white man
has a dead black child inside him bursting
with the desire to materialize in the street
as a manhole I want to keep someone safe I say
I used to feel safe and don't mean it I say
if I eat them all I am a cradle for
cradles but if I eat them all I am also just
a city full of white men I am sick with
revitalization I am such a sepulchre
if I eat them they will still be busy busy busy
as a virus trying to keep me alive just as long
as my body is the gracious host for their
buildup which you know has been
the longest breakdown gotdamn
I say it too my back hurts just knowing
what they wish it would still do

Justin Phillip Reed

Coffee House Press

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