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Category: Taylor Johnson

The Black Proletarianization of the Bourgeois Form Isn’t Kanye West’s Gospel Samples

O, Death. Your singular eye. My mother speaks the King’s English. Makes quiche. Makes clove

pomanders in winter. Pawned her flute. Cleaned my elementary school classroom. What is

hers? Brillant song, my mother, sotto voce, in her chair asking for touch. It is drowning she

means, not freedom. I swam fine. Don’t you get it, O Death, my mother is elegant alive, entering

the blue hole of evening, alone. You could reach into the frame, pull her out. O Death, I’ve been

crueler— I’ve watched.

from InheritanceFind more by Taylor Johnson at the library

Copyright © 2020 Taylor Johnson
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Trans is Against Nostalgia

Every day I build the little boat,

my body boat, hold for the unique one,

the formless soul, the blue fire

that coaxes my being into being.

Yes, there was music in the woods, and

I was in love with the trees, and a beautiful man

grew my heartbeat in his hands, and there

was my mother’s regret that I slept with.

To live there is pointless. I’m building the boat,

the same way I’d build a new love—

looking ahead at the terrain. And the water

is rising, and the generous ones are moving on.

O New Day, I get to build the boat!

I tell myself to live again.

Somehow I made it out of being 15

and wanting to jump off the roof

of my attic room. Somehow I survived

my loneliness and throwing up in a jail cell.

O New Day, I’ve broken my own heart. The boat

is still here, is fortified in my brokeness.

I’ve picked up the hammer every day

and forgiven myself. There is a new

language I’m learning by speaking it.

I’m a blind cartographer, I know the way

fearing the distance. O New Day,

there isn’t a part of you I don’t love

to fear. I’m holding hands with

the poet speaking of light, saying I made it up

I made it up.

from InheritanceFind more by Taylor Johnson at the library

Copyright © 2020 Taylor Johnson
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.