On the bus, a group of white men warn the younger ones that there will be a crash – and one says to the others – perhaps including me in the warning – that you have to look behind you to see what will happen. Sing a warning, one of them says. The distance between song and the wall extends through the message and the song’s meaning, or at least its intention as a warning about how and where I function in dream space. I realize this is not a mix-up, and I am as fearful of who I am as I am of what’s to come.
What kind of poet are you? How do you say, I am a Black poet? How do you say that being a Black poet is how I am also an Asian and Gay poet? How do you say, I am not interested in anything but the sky at one moment, and the complications of intentionally wanting to soil a bathroom wall, or to hack up on someone’s face, in the next? How do you say, I have given over to the labor of the exhausted black body in one form of writing after another? How do you say, I have splinters to pull from my brain, as I attempt to occupy and evade? How do you say, I almost got the job, again, but now I am getting older and I fear I will never get what I deserve if I keep telling the truth, but all I have is the truth? How do you say, I am lost in the complications of my birth, that for me, being a poet is tied to the experience of, at this moment, purposefully moving in what Myung Mi Kim, in Commons, names as the “circulatory spaces,” somewhere in the “storehouse of the human,” what I see as the complicated archive of experience that is freeing, yet held in relief to what binds me to root and wire. How do you say, there is no safety net, and the more clearly you delineate, the more it becomes harder to make an honest living in the world where you have to eat, pay bills, and love?