Chloe Wofford tells me a secret about fiction
Pecola Breedlove has a secret lodged in her stomach.
It is a seed.
Pecola spends her days trying to get the secret out her body.
She wants to see all the white she grew, in secret
Be lavish and blond
without her family having
to see her plead
It is death,
at least the pain of grief
Dreaming of skin she shouldn’t want to have
and if she happened to be a magician
her momma’s church hands would certainly exorcise
I mean try to leave her blind for God
In Jesus’ name
Pecola prayed, played, imagined whiteness as
hands creating patterns in air
Laughed at insane times,
covered her mouth to save
the whites of her teeth
from the black of her mother’s yell
She labored for change
Filled a rusty basin with bleach,
kept it at her bedside
Looked in the pool to see the face
she was too scared to want bad enough
When she was asked
she said the water was for cleaning
Bringing a surface to life
Pecola prayed for courage
prayed for her blackness
to peel back its sin
and accept its baptism
It is death:
her body covered in wet sheets,
forever gathering the color it wanted
A Possession of the Lines by Sula Peace
The point is the sex
Sex is the experiment
How copulation is a sea I throw extra salt in to make the fish swim mutant
Swim slow mo
Everybody I take in is fresh air
The point is the new
New is the change in position, trapezoid, isosceles.
Making new shapes out of my bones, The point is I fuck
To give rise to a new animal.
Wet with velocity
Skin new DNA streaking.
The point is I walk the street with a trail of fingers calling me a line
not supposed to be.
I not supposed to be living like this.
with my genes sprawled across my hands like this
like in a snap I can evolve
into a being standing on the outside of what you call normal
The point is behavior
And what I got to do to squeeze inside the brain
Without going through the mouth.
Sex is the experiment
Different ways a wet tongue can be voice without sound
You thinking suck but I may be thinking
Me a polychrome
A slick of water with the swag of oil
But nobody wants to dive in to take
Just gawk at how free I talk
How unbound my hands be to
Sock or curve a buck 50 across a face
And still be present in a pew
The point is we all God’s chillun
Some, like me, catch the holy spirit of free will
And all the others grab their guns
To shoot the manifestation of freedom
What we here for?
Pick each other apart till we all skeletons
Till we all the same dry, miserable,
Starters of fires we can’t put out
Till we all ash
Is the point love
Monologue: I was talking to Macon Milkman Dead III
And it was weird talking to another piece of lineage ‘cause the suffix third or junior assumes a father standing over you and maybe it assumes love. That the father loved you enough to transfer whatever a name can represent on to your forehead but I could reach and my father was a ghost and then I could sleep and smell the thickness of rum rumbling through every room of I guess what was called my home but what is home?, a couple of sticks flung together with architect’s glue
My dad was good enough, worked, was there, was a something the couch recognized as displacing it, never speech tho, never a song my mom could bang a tambourine to more like sorrow she could see through or grief she knew was coming every night with the afterbirth of bar on its tongue.
Then this is inheritance, then Gregor Mendel pimped me out to my Dad’s sperm before I had a voice, only to have me asking why my DAD was the nigga I had to come out of. Why I had to be a poster on his Punnett Square, then I think my mother was gold, she was light, intense ahhhhh pouring down a chamber of my heart, How they get together?. A stubborn man from the island of St. Vincent. A nervous woman from 57th and Dunlap, How they cross?. How they land in a pot of they own juices to make me. Was this the American Dream? Was I the American Dream?
And it was weird that Dead wasn’t saying nothing so I assumed I was a nightmare and that’s why they screamed through each other’s skin so much. And then one day my mother tried to beat the stay home in my Dad’s back and my little sister fell through the floor and I thought this was the point in History where my torso would bend and split me in two but they stayed and I took notes on how to stay in the center of violence and die Dead you know what I mean Dead just a word.
When I say die I really mean lay down and take whatever anybody wants to inflict on me. Then this is History laying down in a vessel with violence circling. Food over vomit, body a tool, a car, an open hole to grow things in like cotton. Like blood, like a sharecropper’s hands gone rough then smooth then Dead resurrected Like when my Dad wakes up from a night of hard liquor to be a carpenter, to go to work to make the money I carry on my back. And I love him for it but do those two things gotta duality? The money and the nailed crosses bared. I gotta have them too then cause I am just a doppelganger without the island breeze to waver my jaw.
Dead, my mother, she disappeared in a hurried night yo God Toni Morrison couldn’t have wrote it better how she slipped through my eye without any tears falling. All the grief curled up in my Dad’s lap and coaxed a river of tears from him. I’m a dam nigga/Dam nigga you ain’t never care for her. You crying enough tears to make you a child and me the daddy. We got enough Ocean in our house for it to be a ship and you the middle passage I got to go through.
Dead this sound familiar? Sound like your genome raising up on your skin like goosebumps. My therapists asked if I ever considered his childhood. If I ever checked to see what made him an alcoholic. Nope I gotta image I got to kill. I gotta ghost to make out of all the Kirwyn’s that thought hard was an emotion. I gotta drown them. I keep trying Dead but all the faces keep coming to the surface of the water as my father.
All the running I tried to do lead me back to the same house my mother died in. Ocean now a pool of green black standing water my dad now a small alleyway but still something I gotta bust through. I gotta bust through. Dead? Dead? You feel me?