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
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
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.
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
And of the gold toothed women
Mighty of arm
Who dragged us all
Bridgette Jordan: I am a Black woman and an artist, in that order.