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Some spoken poetry on a Tuesday evening



"Before Bed" by Zora Howard

Bobby Pin crown,
You, my throne,
We make like an empire
before this closet mirror door
a village in your eyes,
my eyes reflecting back
upon this sanctified seat
and oh,
what they will bear witness to this eve.
When wrapping my hair,
you watch me,
press your chest right up on my back
hold my hips as if they were the only mast offering balance
to this wayward sea captain
as if it were my hands sea
my hands sorcery
my hands witchcraft or
wire-weaver who spins gold
threading a nest of precious stone
but my fingers are rather betting fiddling,
finding things to fix on your face,
throw to find there isn’t much a scab to pick,
a zit to pop,
fussing with your stubborn fuzz
which you like so much to bury in the north west axis of my neck.
You’re distracting.
I got a mouthful of pins and a bedtime to respect.
Though your core is gorged with God,
your hands are full of sin,
young man.
My waist does not a meadow make for you to serpent your way in,
young man.
We’ve got to go to bed.
I is a still wet concrete
and here comes you,
a brazen unkempt boy,
carving your gang signs all up alongside me with an unassuming stick.
Where is your home training?
Why do you make the city of me so unbecoming?
Your language is hardening in this landscape of mine.
Everyone will pass here
and what will they find?
That I am your block,
I am your boulevard,
your bayou,
And baby,
I don’t mind,
I don’t mind,
I don’t mind.

When wrapping my hair,
you stare and dare not touch.
Instead, our brown goes for one long line around.
We cannot tell where you begin my end.
I start to blush.
You make to play connect my dots,
my blemishes, and beauty marks
and with your lips
inaugurate my monuments like they’ve just begun this night
last night
and this love is so fresh it squeaks and shines
and lies a little bit,
has secrets and shit to hide a little bit,
small unpoetic things like
like, Baby, you don’t know how to eat chicken
and sometimes it bothers me
like, you leave so much meat on the bone,
your leftovers could feed a small child with a big appetite
or make a nice snack for me now or later with some potato bread or butter.
And it takes everything in my power
not to clean your plate for you but, goodness,
that would be ghastly.
And also,
I pass gas.
I talk with my neck and my hands,
not only when I’m fed up
but sometimes,
when I’m trying to say a point like
It just helps me express it better.
And I got a little street in me.
Sometimes, I lose my cool and get hood.
And I never lose in Taboo but I’m so competitive
I’d make you cry and I’m mean.
Your feet make me uncomfortable.
You never have a clue but it’s more than a hint
when I suggest you and I should go get pedicures together soon.
I have 13 piercings
and two tattoos and
you still look at my body like it’s brand spanking new.
It’s not.

I’m afraid you’ll find my tarnished parts.
If you keep snooping around the way you do,
I’m afraid you’ll see there is no land left here unchartered or uncharred.
This was an empire
before they burned their fires,
stuck their flags deep in this soil.
And when the ear was barren dry,
they gave it back,
unholy act.
See, I’m no piece girl,
when I love I give the whole of me.
So when they left the lease in pieces,
they also left these holes in me.
my monuments have seen some things, baby,
civil wars, famine, and crusades, baby,
the conquer and raids of holy places.
So before we go any farther, baby,
will you listen to the kind of mess my heart’s been in?
touch the grit that’s sitting tranquil
between each whittled rib?
after all the best has been torn away,
will you want the rest of me,
the parts that poets find grotesque and plain,
the bits that boil and bubble over,
crack and callous,
break down and dust to dust;

My crown is fluff.
Bobby pinned bee hive hair,
but, when wrapping my hair just before bed, you stay.
my shoulder be your port,
your eyes revere my isle,
your hands hold my sea.
Let’s make camp here for a while
and oh,
what they will bear witness to this eve.


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