Kirwyn Sutherland

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


blue eyes


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?