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Photograph (detail) © Katsumi Murouchi/Moment/Getty Images

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Weapons a Thought Could Wield

In the word of the mind, the mind of the word—murder, a simple premise, quick utility, pistol or cane, a wood or any metal, new money for old rope, a nail for the body, field for the coffin, a simple premise—inevitability, a shout and a gather, a rubbernecking, a knowing, a slew occupation, knife in a bread box, missiles in the hamper, bombs in the basement, a trap, the catch, a rumorer, inevitability, a simple premise—what becomes of a mind becomes of a body, zero thought, something hard, something harder, a knowing, time and place, depth and proximity, a piece of piss, the portent, a simple premise—murder, a look at the waste, a thing to hold and a thing to be held onto, a mother’s purse, your father’s pockets, armories of the state, mundane ornaments, a cross for your hands, a cross for your back, the forgetting, inevitability, black sheet for burial, daylight for discovery, tokens of vengeance, a war for meaning, a war for peace, the simple premise—want. For whom? For what? Nothing.

 

Black Episteme No 9: This is what I know about blood—

that when I wake in it,

my body turns the earth

with its gnashing. That when it appears

in my piss, all streams run silent.

When I find it in my hands, I cannot

recall my name. Here, I offer you

a truism. I am not speaking of a cut,

nor the way my gut caves into a split

to touch my back to some bullet, but

of what remains in the image of loss—

how it is signifier and referent at once,

how it pulls from my unending mouth,

how at this moment I am sitting in a mess

of it, waiting for my own legs to stand—

how I could leave it

as a sign that still reads:             Nigger.

You wasn’t even here,
      You wasn’t even here at all.

 

Black-on-Black Stone / Under a White Stone
After César Vallejo

I will die in Flint, in the early gloaming of a raid
as blood honeys the fetid water.
I will die in Flint, in a handoff without witness
on any night. Perhaps, this night
I am found with broadcloth over my teeth,
a bagged object in clutch, empty
water bottles at my side, a dingy hoard of glooms,
and whatever’s left of my body
now enters the day rearward. In some nature,
Jonah Mixon-Webster is dead
and weaponless. A fortuitous echo sucking air out,
a shrunk-mouthed portal shrilling
its sole evidence of event—
a darkening, then all at once, snow.

 is a poet and interdisciplinary artist from Flint, Michigan. His debut collection, Stereo(TYPE), received the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry in 2019.


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September 2020