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Poet of the Week: drea brown

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flesh memory: an invocation in cento

from claudia rankine’s citizen and akilah oliver’s she said dialogues: flesh memory, ntozake shange’s for colored girls who

the world is wrong. you can’t put the past behind you.
it’s buried in you; it’s turned your flesh into its own cupboard
when you lay your body in the body
entered as if skin and bone were public places
witness bones on the atlantic floor. chiseled faces.short
vowel sounds trapped under centuries of sediment.
when you lay your body in the body
entered as if you’re the ground you walk on
mash potato. child. break it up.
the body’s truths and realities
the multiplicity of languages
the flesh holds

what does a victorious
or defeated black woman’s body look like ?
are we ghouls?
children of horror?
the joke?
a text, a language, a mythology a truth

you know no memory should live
in these memories

becoming the body you
don’t tell nobody don’t tell a soul
to live out the days sometimes you moan like deer.
sometimes you sigh.

i am trying to be as honest as grief will allow. i am
trying to be saved. i am trying to sin. i am trying
to hush these tears.

somebody anybody sing a black girl’s song

when you lay your body in the body
becoming the body you
sing her song of life
of infinite beauty
bring her out to know herself

when you lay your body in the body
becoming you
i want you to look at these scars
and be healed.

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