Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 1



Bridgette Jordan


Children Who Don’t Want to Live

erasure of a curse prayer
collected by Zora Neale Hurston
in the 1920s

 

bodies                    blood                                  muscles


breath                    hair      fingernails            bones                      the        dark


                 generation                         the wombs of                       strangers


      children                                        weak of mind       paralyzed of limb


                                           pray     the sun       not shed its rays on them


                                 pray       the moon           give them peace,


                                                             pray    their tongues           speak


pestilence and death.                       O      God,              drag     me in the dust


destroy                   my          broken     heart       and      curse the day that I


was born.




Sunday Dinner

faggotry done finessed your manhood                  huh?   yeah                  we come out the gate scathing and rude.
elders been bestowed the privilege of talking    reckless   without reprimand         because     they    be    knowing.             they
been knowing.         jezebel grand-daughters    and judas grandsons      must find them      faultless      blameless            even
when the fruit of the spirit is rotten.   guess self-control  don’t matter        and     forbearance   is for the birds        once         you
recognize           your son        found    love               joy                     peace         through a man    that        ain’t        god.
through a man that        ain’t     you.            seeing the good in acceptance means            breaking your faithfulness to the most
high
      you say.  but      you  was a gentile           remember?                you revoking that boy’s right to live              when   you     got
sins that ain’t been forgiven.                   you say       we living in     sodom and Gomorrah           huh?               lord   will   rain
down fire and burning     sulfur
             right?          is that why the kinfolk like hot sauce on they catfish?           why             the
sting    of acid reflux    splits   my  throat    wide      open?
            remember what happened to lot’s wife!        they  say  that’s  her
on the morton’s container.                   ain’t   that    some      mess?       manifestation    of      rejection        and               disobedience
seasoning macaroni & cheese and collard greens.                                 she the reason my momma on them pressure pills.         why
grandma’s feet    always    swollen.       why  your tongue     stay      calloused.       rejection.      disobedience.       ain’t that familiar?
raise your left index finger        and   tiptoe     out the sanctuary.         you     leaving worries    at the    altar   you    done    already
pronounced      dead.                      what you need god for?




Meta Nigga: the Anthem, the Pledge, the Promise

the list:

  • plastic covered couch
  • living room mirror wall
  • quit running in and out of this house!
  • chitlins/ pig feet/ fat back
  • yellow cake/ chocolate frosting
  • cocoa butter/ shea butter
  • nail art
  • sew-ins
  • enyce/ pelle pelle/ coogi/ rocawear
  • wheat timberlands/ white air force 1’s
  • tube socks
  • nike slides
  • cartier frames
  • nba2k
  • “Kunck If You Buck”
  • kool aid/ quarter waters
  • gold teeth
  • toothbrush (for edges)
  • you gone do something with that head?
  • satin bonnet/ silk scarf
  • durag/ wave cap
  • zillions
  • beauty supply store
  • pink oil/ murray’s/ blue magic
  • nappy headed
  • pressing comb/ relaxer
  • IT BURNS IT BURNS IT BURNS
  • wicker chair
  • skating rink
  • family reunion
  • dominos
  • ballroom hustle
  • “Before I Let Go”
  • what y’all know about this?
  • alizé/ hypnotiq/ moscato/ ciroc/ hennessy
  • stay outta grown folks business
  • dope dealers
  • bad checks
  • welfare fraud
  • hard head make a soft behind
  • whoopins
  • wooden spoon
  • frying pan
  • leather belt
  • switch
  • extension cord
  • wife beaters
  • beatings
  • beatings
  • screams
  • cries
  • cries
  • cries
  • stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about
  • spike lee joints/ soul food
  • the parkers/ girlfriends/ living single/ martin/ in living color
  • baby boy/ friday/ poetic justice
  • lean on me/ antwone fisher
  • juice/ set it off
  • boyz n the hood
  • menace II society
  • roots
  • coming to america
  • the preacher’s wife
  • church of god in christ
  • blessed and highly favored
  • pastel suit
  • alter call
  • tithes and offering
  • praise & worship
  • “Jesus Paid It All”
  • catch the holy ghost
  • “When We All Get to Heaven”
  • speak in tongues
  • “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”
  • call for salvation
  • pallbearer routine
  • “Goin Up Yonder”
  • another one called home
  • framed obituaries
  • “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power”



Yellin at Yeshua

We need to talk about the ways I’ve disappointed my mother, and why none of that shit matters anymore. I have to die in New Orleans. That’s a demand, not a request. I should’ve died off that fishbowl. But I get it: jumping off a club balcony on my homegirl’s birthday ain’t sexy. Letting 2 Chainz score a suicide ain’t either. Neither is being scraped off Bourbon Street with cheap liquor on my breath; butter beans in my stomach; powdered sugar on my dress. My sister says I’m not dainty. Show me a woman that is and I’ll prove her to be inferior. I fear all I have left is friends and fried chicken. There’s a metaphor somewhere in fried chicken—something that connects my enjoyment of it to depression. I won’t take the time to untangle it because I’m vegan now. There’s a therapist waiting to hear about this month’s anxiety. She’s eager to mark the day I stop crying over men who don’t give a damn about me, and the self-hate I feel because of it. How many legal pads have “doesn’t trust Scorpios” written on them? Which is ironic given that Cancers and Scorpios are highly compatible. I too have fuckboy tendencies. Charge the cussing to carnal behavior. I choose to take you up on that come as you are refrain. We have some issues to settle. Starting with pastor telling me 2017 was going to be a good year.




Because

every mouth that has kissed this face led me to question
God’s existence. Made me feel valueless. Undeserving. Shameful.
Out of place. Because friends save lives. Because my mother always prays
for me. Because I rarely pray for her. Because the Bible reminds me why
I need to die. Because collard greens and black eyed peas can’t keep me from
killing myself. Because soul food has never been about nourishing
the soul. Because men seem to easily fall in love with
someone else. Because loving myself is difficult. Because
I’m tired. Because aspirations seem distant. Because I’m
still shittin’ yellow. Because niggas can do everything but be.
Because being turns into masking. Masking into suppressing.
Suppressing
into not addressing. Because niggas stay not addressing.
In these dissenting times all I know to do is stay Black and die. Puff
my chest. Say some shit I need to say. Forgive everyone that diminished me
to dust. Forgive myself. Perfect my aunt’s Sweet Potato Pie. Bake it
for Grandma Mattie in glory. Do the Bad Girl Hustle on the Dead Sea.
Because everything floats on the Dead Sea,
even a Black girl carrying knives in her two-piece.




IN THESE DISSENTING TIMES

I shall write of the old men I knew
And the young men
I loved
And of the gold toothed women
Mighty of arm
Who dragged us all
To church.
          -Alice Walker


Bridgette Jordan: I am a Black woman and an artist, in that order.




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