The Language of Marriage

_______________this poem is indebted to C.D. Wright’s “And It Came To Pass”

next woman in line & i’ve had

the audacity

to wear red to the ceremony. the language

of non-marriage : repeating i’m happy


with how things are as counterargument

having no response but my own

pleasure & comfort

& the language of non-marriage : people leave, die


& my white friends say you’re so young & take your time

& my white friends say that sucks, i’m sorry they’re pressuring you

but c.d. wrote : “the unconnected life / is not

worth living”— _______. my white partner says i’m so sorry


& nothing more. the color for bad luck changes

depending on context & i explain to my grieving mother

what it means to code-switch—me, the next woman tethered

to a man & wearing black to the reception again, but in a sense


i’m already property, right? like he introduces me by first saying my—.

& c.d. wrote : “something else is out there / goddamnit”

but c.d., i turn & am a kaleidoscope of other people’s want

& who has a map for this? not my kin


nor the white friends perpetually poised in lives

of their own making—the language of their marriages : pastel af

& posing on their knees in a succession

of fields, & i want someone to take my hand in the sun


perhaps in a gazebo on a beach like in the film i criticize

because it is cliché, perhaps i cannot complain

that shades of gold never visit here, _____here,

between red & black ____there is only brown, & what,


really, have i learned from the language

of resistance : c.d, what if there is no antecedent

to this feeling : what if there’s nothing else out there

& i’ve spent my life envisioning it?

Charm in Its Southern Variety / Have You Ever Felt So Detached From Your Own Upbringing You Could Sail Away, A Non-Entity Slackening Like A Small Creekwave

this poem is indebted to Morgan Parker’s “ALL THEY WANT


spring & sunflare feral / each mast penetrates a little / sky

all they see is my fun my summer my yes

inventing games using cups and pillowcases / asking if i’d like to join in

i would not

ocean a slate always being rewritten & i am the mud underneath this marshy haven / greasy sticky bottom of cocktails by the pool

the air is salt but also snowmelt & i’m nothing i’ve not been asked to be

i’m asking about the degree / to which skin can punish

i mean i’m self-isolating in a group of white friends like is this 2003 or—

if it’s always just me : mud : mirrored : / _______revolutionary, then, to own my narcissism

to bellygaze alone on the shorewall / where no element warms me / spiderwebs breaching white space between marshgrass

language is excess ___________ / ___________ a boat sails by

i was raised here / made here / my life is a lie