Ebony Isis Booth

10 Reasons Why Your Right Eye Is Twitching

1

The French press of dark roast

in a travel thermos, sweetened

with amaretto liqueur before 10 am.

2

The letter from the IRS kindly

thanking in order to inform, this

year’s over-payment will be

conveniently applied to

’07, ’08, ’09.

3

The tax refund you get for

raising your baby sister’s babies

should not pay for the sins of

the woman you thought you were

a decade ago.

4

This is penance.

5

Your story is a uniform worn for

strangers. Spring weather is too

warm for cloaks, too bright to

hide your shame.

6

You can feel the fibroids

tugging your uterus up and

over themselves, settling into the

warmth. But, you have not told a soul

except your accountant, who held you

close and prayed as you wept. She

noticed the tremble in your voice and

hand when she tore the check.

She saw you.

7

You are surrounded by laundry,

almost constantly.

8

You are jealous of their freedom. They

are data points pinged from towers

across state lines with no budget for

gas, activities or snacks. They are text

messages of good will, dredged in guilt.

Relieved voice mail messages.

Proof of life in your palm, your phone

a grenade.

9

You tanked another deadline. You are

afraid that you might be as brilliant as

you pretend. And, who will watch the

children and ignore the laundry while

you are away, breathing your own air?

10

You are supposed to write, and cry

and drink about all of it today. You are

supposed to know when to say no to

the ice cream man. Explain why there is

no money or necessity for year books

in elementary school. Teach the concept

of never versus forever to children who

are younger than your debt.


Black Girl In Therapy

When you describe how black women / specifically / had their bodies and all cavities inspected / in addition to their hair grabbed / and slathered with lard / to prevent lice on auction blocks to your therapist / and she cries when you tell her that you are a descendant of this fact / but you don’t cry with her / because you can’t cry every time a white woman with kind eyes is hurt for your black life / or when one tries to touch your hair again or silence you / and it’s 2017 and 45 is in office / and you’re trying to raise a care-free black girl with mahogany skin and adamant curls in a school where she is the only one of herself  / and she misses her momma / and everybody wants to know if your pain is real / because they can’t believe you haven’t just up and died yet / and neither can you / and they will tell you it’s your fault for being beautiful / and you can’t make them understand that there is a bloodline of women who look just like you in other states that you don’t talk to / and you miss them all / and you can’t remember why you didn’t get your hair wet that day at the beach when you were seven and wearing your mother’s grief / and you don’t want to.


Ebony Isis Booth is a 2006 National Poetry Slam Champion, and recipient of Westword’s Mastermind Award in Literary Arts for her work as hostess of Café Nuba; Ebony Isis Booth is committed to her work. Since relocating to Albuquerque in early 2015, Isis has continued to fuel her drive toward art-ivism as Programs & Communications Coordinator for Harwood Art Center while simultaneously writing and performing original poetry and prose; heralding social justice, self love, and perseverance in and around New Mexico. In 2016, Ebony celebrated the inaugural edition of Burque Noir, a multimedia performance and art showcase centered around Black artists in New Mexico. Ebony Isis Booth serves on the Board of Directors for YWCA New Mexico as a steward of the organization’s mission, “Eliminating racism. Empowering women.”

Black Venus

Did It Hurt? 

Did it hurt to say I love you?

And when our bodies pressed together

Did you feel friction?

Did I mistake your silence for comfort

while your thoughts knotted themselves into a choker?

Did you gag on your own truth?

And did letting go bring you relief?

Did it stop hurting?

Were you counting down the moments?

Do the moments before that still count?

And when the moments ran out

was that everything you’d hoped for?

Did you find healing in our demise?

Joy in our destruction?

Were you drowning?

Was it that bad?

Has the water finally left your lungs?


Black Venus grew up surrounded by artists and educators. They are a renaissance, finding liberation in balancing different art forms including, but never limited to, poetry, theater, and music. The art of Black Venus centers their experience as a queer black female-bodied individual born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Aside from creating, Black is an active community organizer. They collaborate with fellow artists on programming that aims to dismantle oppression and promotes healing through creative practices. For more information about the art of Black Venus, future performances and/or community events you can follow them on Twitter/IG @blackv3nus or visit their website blackv3nus.com. For performance and collaboration inquiries email artofblackvenus@gmail.com.

India Brown

Destiny DeFINEd

she never occupied the same

womb as I, we never hopscotched/skinned knees,

double/dutched/played hide and go seek/

but we have the same blood

type.

 

the ink scrawled across scraps of paper

at our desks, leaking through dozens

of notebooks. warming the cool side

of our pillows and prayers whispered across

cotton sheets witness to my dirty laundry,

but bearer of what makes                clean;

she is iron sharpening wrinkles.

 

no passive participants

fights for our sisterhood

decries no new friends

1/3 joking, the rest

she meant it

 

destined for this.

we have the same Father

our blood types, His.

 

when it rains

she has our umbrella

otherwise we both run for it.

her tears are a reflection of mine,

her laughter, an echo. We did not grow

up together, but she is my sister by God’s

command. The promise is still

the promise.


India “DeFINEd” Brown is a graduate of The Ohio State University. She made it out of Dayton, Ohio, and then she came back home. In 2014 DeFINEd won the annual African American Heritage Festival Poetry Slam at OSU. She then published her book, “Shhh…” in March 2015, a poetic memoir of the things she was never supposed to say but spoke on anyway. In 2016 she released a chapbook called Questions of Blackness for the Dolezal’s of the world who keep asking ’em with her favorite of 2016 being “Dear Becky with The Good Hair”.