jayy dodd is a blxk question mark from los angeles, california – now based on the internet. they are a professional writer & literary editor. their work has appeared / will appear in Lambda Literary, The Establishment, Assaracus, Winter Tangerine, Dreginald, & Guernica among others. they’re the author of [sugar in the tank] on Pizza Pi Press. their debut collection Mannish Tongues will be be released in 2017 on Platypus Press. find them talking trash or taking a selfie.
photo by Bree Gant
i wish my mouth
told you less about chainsaws
my song a buzzing now—
this the only squawk i know.
after my sprawling: a groove. i wait
for a mate to meet me until then my lament:
a camera shutter. my screech only knows what it hears
i can gab to all the other birds in native hoots make my own kind
unsure of my gawking plumage. yet this is the only caw to keep me going
stand in the clearing, a bushel & leaf stage hear my range warbles & trills.
this beak a barreling of bulldozers of a throat built for spectacle.
a call from habitat unnatural. mechanics whiz
an unmistakable static beneath my breast-bone. almost
a mocking. beneath my feathers are klaxons.
oh, to be a siren? wouldn’t that be beautiful:
to reply back to the sky
a more appealing
We Cannot Grieve What Doesn’t Leave Us, Or I’ll Be at Every Function.
The only man I have killed lived in my body // At his funeral / I’m in the back of the mezzanine wearing black jean-booty shorts / oversized white t-shirt / with my own face air-brushed / metallic lavender // I am his widow / & his only son // Below / people are laughing / not weeping / because they are in on the joke // This cathedral / tailored / & fitted for a casket / is a new unspeakable familiar // Safer than mother’s heels / was double knot tie / & monogramed cufflinks // The gag is: even in rigor the corpse smiles // The coffin is rented // The suit mine // All of this is to be burned // He never saw a need for daisies // Drown his ashes in red solo cup / & piss him across the clearing / a mile from the house // If a few could make the journey / if only to listen to the wind / consider that something kind —
At the repast, I dance.
I pink my hands in lipstick.
I shift weight in sea-foam skirts.
There never enough eyes to question,
if had always been here.
So when someone calls for me
— my trained smile-mouth
lifts the veil,
I perform my favorite tricks again.
Called an apparition so often,
I longed for the familiar ghost.
My mother will tell someone
how I am, now, divine;
that she always discerned.
I am a conjurer,
every prayer required a sacrifice:
I call this look everything I got away with.
In the wake,
I am a different kind of breeze,
in heaven, holding whatever
binds me to this earth.
The Buffalo Cloud Passes The Live Oak
:the unsolicited text message
talking about how you feel me,
crossing above you
in land known from cumulus memory
you remind me to be familiar
ask how the sun feels above me
& I become an silent expanse
my cover forming extinct pasture overhead.
type: hope [your] respirations are working
believe your air is keeping me afloat
or even the current underneath — shifting
wish me a weather pattern
that doesn’t make your joints ache
each writhing pain a-new
ring-around your dwindling trunk
shade keeps you — recurring
as you need, as long as you can.
I have already seen how this storm plays out
how much of my thunder makes you shiver
how much lighting is required to strike
tumbling silently to my self:
not every drought deserves satisfaction.
ask: how [I] could suddenly be so far?
as if this altitude was not the only reason you saw me at all.
prepare a forecast
of endless unanswered love notes,
screenshots collecting dust.
white. savior. black. messiah.
Naw, I can’t fuck you no more cause the way this body is set up, I can’t hold it. Your hands, trying to locate freedom in the small of my back. You, a trifling thing, got this good-good all kinds of fucked up. How I loved you was a swallowing, I loved you a gnawing grit. Yet, you tell me I’m too bitter to lick. Too nigger to laugh. Say I needed you — it’s own kind of tragedy — a death I have learned to sing to my-self.
Can’t freak what you can’t fuck, can’t tell me nothing bout nightmare, this mouth, a ghost-tongue hollering back some horror. See, you ain’t even all that anyway & I ain’t never claimed to be more than here, now, trying. You the one calling me phantasm, another spook you know how to haunt. You have suckled the last of this tar, this fuming. You, all writhing & twitching: tell me how speechlessness gathers around your mouth in excessive spittle.
We had fun, sure, you may even have caught me smiling, but I’ve always known clowns: pale-faced & tricky. Known monsters: glimmering teeth & feral breath. Can’t fright a phantom out of body he never owned. You ain’t the scariest thing I’ve ever known, not in this life, & trust, you ain’t the first to hear this. But I pray you’re the last: I can’t die, again, for you. You can’t raise the dead in kind, you can’t hold the past in tonight. Meaning well, a generous malice. I been known you, been known pleasantry as warning shot, been known death as love-song.
& I get it, it’s not suppose to feel like this, like you just hung me from my own lips, again. Like all this choking, slobbering is my own, a gagging to moan itself pleased. You taught me this body as a bubbling mess, a rotting matter — dying & always. But, if ever your are sniffing for a body you think you can resurrect, see my stone as already moved. See my miracle ascending, remember how I made your bitten-tongue, swollen. Made it combust, made it remember this blood, made it the concessions I know too well: ash, ember, & warmth.
So, when you return to your disciples, tell them I am the grime that lines you. Tell them my sweat & all that remains is a residue of what they cannot save; in the ruins of our communion, it is my grave left for them to find.