07 July 2017

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

Ginuwine - Pony

or: what it is to ride or be ridden
to have a spine bend under the weight of what you carry
to sit atop what will take you to the promised land
by promised I mean any land that is untouched
and precious enough to be stolen a thrashing and noisy child
ripped from the fingers of its only mother
what it is to ride fast on the back of something hungry and claim whatever meets your arrival
run your tongue across anything naked and name it conquered
what it is to have your sweat plant a flag in new earth
I claim this land in the name of what exits the skin after it has had its fill of our reckless want
everything we hold inside of us always ruining a good set of sheets
or a good pair of pants
or a family
or a whole country
the darkness is spreading earlier and earlier. I have stopped looking for myself in pictures. I ask my therapist: if I cannot see my hands how will anyone know to love me. he tells me that it is best to not speak of what happens at night. I do not speak in winter. I watch the news. I think about what picture they would use if I died. it is a miracle babies are born at all. I think a baby is what happens when you get tired of leaving notes on someone’s nightstand before they wake up. if men could carry babies we would watch childbirth on ESPN. we would place bets on it. the world is on fire again but I’m not alone this time. I just want to touch someone who thinks of me while their coffee cools. I just want to kiss a mouth that has grown my name inside. I just want to make good use of all this nighttime.  instead I make lists of everything outside that can kill me. the organic market next door is at the top. how much is too much to ask for nourishment. take what is left of my hands. give them back when the sun comes.

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