OYO and PHILALALIA closing events

On September 23rd, I was part of a panel about politics and poetry featuring Anthony Romero, Mariame Kaba, Mark Nowak and Sam Gould. This event, at the Slought Foundation, was also the book release event for the Organize Your Own catalog which I have two poems and an essay in. One of the poems is below. The book includes work from: Amber Art & Design, Rashayla Marie Brown, Emily Chow Bluck, Billy “Che” Brooks, Salem Collo-Julin, Irina Contreras, Brad Duncan, Bettina Escauriza, Eric J. Garcia, Maria Gaspar, Thomas Graves, Robby Herbst, Jen Hofer, Alethea Hyun-Jin Shin, Mike James, Marissa Johnson- Valenzuela, Jennifer Kidwell, Antonio Lopez, Nicole Marroquin, Fred Moten, Matt Neff, Mark Nowak, Edward Onaci, Dave Pabellon, Mary Patten, Rasheedah Phillips, Anthony Romero, Frank Sherlock, Amy Sonnie, Hy Thurman, Thread Makes Blanket, James Tracy, Daniel Tucker, the University of Louisville’s Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, Dan S. Wang, Jakobi WIlliams, Mariam Williams, Rosten Woo,Wooden Leg Print & Press, Works Progress with Jayanthi Kyle, and Rebecca Zorach

More info about the book is available from Soberscove.

15 Years This Corner

Little Monica told me
she would lay
out her outfit
the night before
And mine
is a different
from the one
she sold on
but both have
loosies, and
debilitated men
So I could’ve taken
her advice and laid
my clothes out
It’d make me better
with timing, with
attention to detail
More like the woman
in the park
the man begging,
saying she doesn’t
do that to women
she likes
Meaning to herself
Meaning he ain’t it
Meaning it’s not
when probably it was
Degrees in
Pay up or pay me
For generosity
of spirit
For the consultation
in the audition
all the notes
And the symbol
may be
ice cream
The increase
in ice cream
American ice cream
Because Yoga left
She was replaced
by records
I don’t want to buy
it’s even
not really
just a different
problem on
the opposite corner
that shit bar a hotter
uninviting scene
when many of the
leather cut bikers
didn’t have bikes
When all queers
were ageless
Abdul Faruk is dead
But forget him or his
carpeted sidewalk
scene? Never
On top of that matted
brown square:
Sofa-bed, coffee table
and dresser
with streetlight lamp,
Chinese store
as kitchen, and the
the TV
Better step
into the street
because to walk
through his living
is rude
And that day
it rained he,
wet and unlucky,
cold melted
into the couch,
such a contrast
to his first day
in the sun—
my heart wanted
to take him in out
of the depression
But he was mean
On her only hit record,
Nonchalant said
ya better get
yourselves together
Don’t just stand there
on the corner
things change
without you
But do what about
the click of heels
and their mothers’
on the sidewalk
going to the beer
going to heaven
going to graduate
so fast forward
through this part
it is all the corners
in America
you gotta let
them play
Don’t tell me
there’s something
me and my
keloid don’t know
about living despite
opulent violence
This is love mama
this is love—
people and place—
that has nothing
to do with the fact
there are fewer
tiny plastic bags
fewer shells
and stroller
after stroller
Stroller armies
and hey, I like
kids even though
I kill them
There has always
been black fabric
for death and fashion
And I don’t mind
the changes
at the state store
it’s the reason
why, the whiter
reason why
the remodel
But Peking Inn
and Choy Wong
stay bulletproof
and open
Someone is still
car system
sound waves,
24hrs a day
Meaning there
are sounds
I don’t want
to wake to
bitch beat bass
and crying
Once, when I
was breaking up
on the front steps
we’ve come
to the end
of the road,
still I can’t let go
it’s unnatural…
rolled by
and we both
had to take
a moment
a pause
In so many
I’ve known
on this block
And I wanna
be bulletproof
In the search
for honesty,
One + One
dollar store
One + Five
In the search
for coffee,
likely a long line
of unhappiness
or patience—
it’s all about who
you are—
and six people
you’ve known
Bricks in need
of pointing
More dogs
on leashes
to thieves
Elena burnt down
and left,
and her soul
I still mourn
She had
She had
real possibility
She had

Over 300 people came out to the closing event for Philalalia. ICA Gather: I Wonder What Else Could Be Different Around Here featured readings by Yolanda Wisher, Dick Laurie, Natalie Diaz and Christian Campbell on the terrace.

These were preceded by a series of "pop-up" readings in the gallery by Nico Amador, Thomas Devaney, Lucia Gbaya-Kanga, Kirwyn Sutherland, Lauren Yates, Alina Pleskova, Stan Mir, Warren Longmire, Sara Grossman, Cindy Arrieu-King, Cynthia Dewi-Oka, Marie Alarcon, and Faye Chevalier. These readings included ekphrastic poems written in direct response to one of the works of art in the The Freedom Principle exhibit.

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