We're happy to announce the comeback of our GLOW! Each month, the RADAR blog will feature a queer literary artist to engage our community. For April, we have jamal rashad. jamal rashad is a Black, a Queer, an optimist when careful, a massage therapist, and poet. He has received a fellowship from The Watering Hole Poetry. His work has been featured in Maji Press, Argot Magazine, "Blackgirldangerous.com", the "Moonsalt" chapbook , and Against Equality. Currently, Jamal is working as a fiction editor for African Voices Magazine, and an editor for the forthcoming Imagoes; a Queer Anthology, being published through Love, Pain & Poetry Publishing.
Single Room Occupancy
After Wanda Coleman
The mold on my windowsill is conspiring against me to form a union
with the fungi on my sheet thin mattress and my neighbor tells me
with a full chest/ eyes swimming in water, that he is sending off
to Africa for a bride and ask what i think is a fair price
music is the slow drag of the mules at 6 am headed to pasture
only giving pause for the widow, on the other side of me, whos still screaming
about 1992 and the mice we both hear at dawn, living defiantly
has brought me solitude in a room, in neutral, in a shack
squat , in this gray struck place and slumped
on this cushionless pastel chair where i cover the chipped paint of the walls
with what art a week of sucks on unemployment can buy-
my thighs have been without moisture for months
and now the only comforts i have are in the thousands of trite little
verses i manage to write monthly, hoping to strike gold
there is a man in philadelphia who has hexed me and try as i might
I can't seem to keep the weight off
home is unmonitored doses of sleeping pills to silence
the mariachi coming from two flights down
i'm on the 5th floor and home is the light on the phone telling me
that the sender, somewhere, has some good dirt to share
sometimes i sleep in the same outfit twice hoping it will look just as good tmrw
since my money is scarce and i can't always drop quarters at the laundromat
sometimes i sleep for days and wake up missing things i can't remember
appointments for stamps, case worker visits, inspection dates.
sometimes I startle awake from my nap, feet slapping the floor
looking in the mirror, after i've done a once over and counted where them bugs done bit.
“...least I still got my eyes.”
a boy drowns in the river, which is flooding.
a boy maps out the change in currents.
boys, throwing bones in a courtyard, hear a person on the news speak about the boy who has drowned.
the boys, on a bus, read about the boy who has drowned.
the boys, who march, raise money for the families of other boys who have been taken under tow.
boys, with bloated skin, give lectures about the importance of reading moon charts.
a boy threatens to drown.
A boy cynicist, reads the skies and warns that there will be more drowning- silent, painful and slow.
boys become professional lifeguards.
near the gap, boys gather to make nice under trees, turn each other around and dance.
some boys lay wreaths.
a boy bathes himself in river water, finds the mouth and makes his bed.
Hoy vengo a decir adiós.
Michelle Tea gave me the best job I’ve ever had. I remember meeting her downtown at a coffee shop that’s not there anymore, she came with Atti, her kid, on a stroller. That day we spoke for hours. I had a hard time swallowing the surprise that I was soon to be the director of the place where I had witnessed so much queer magic and brilliance. RADAR Productions, the home of queer literature in SF. The first place that ever paid me to read. The first reading series in San Francisco where I witnessed writing that pushed all the boundaries of craft and storytelling. Where I said, you can write like that? And do that? On stage!? A place where all misfits, all the weirdos found a home to experiment and witness the insane power of queer literature. A place where I found a home.
It’s been a wild four years since then. We’ve done so much together. I am incredibly grateful for the community of artists who welcomed me from the beginning into this position. Thank you for believing in my vision for RADAR. For helping me craft that vision by showing up at our events, by giving me feedback, by filling up every room with your creativity and brilliance. You have made this possible. Every single one of you that has shared the RADAR stage has shaped its trajectory. Thank you.
I will be leaving my position at the end of the fiscal year, in June. Imani Sims, our current managing director, will take on the executive and artistic director position. Imani is an incredible writer, community organizer and curator. During the last eight months that we’ve worked together I’ve seen her extraordinary passion and leadership in supporting queer writers. She’s a visionary, a problem-solver and an incredibly kind and honest human being. RADAR is in really great hands, y’all. Please continue to support this space, support Imani in her vision and support the queer writers that keep the magic of literature alive.
To say that RADAR changed my life is an understatement.
Me voy con el corazón lleno.
Mil gracias y mucho amor.
Juliana Delgado Lopera
Imani Sims is a curator, alchemist, and author. She believes in the healing power of ritual, performance art, and the power of words. She is the Curator of Kitchen Sessions, a running show series in collaboration with Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, Bellevue Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, and Theater Off Jackson. Her goal is to continue to shift the social narrative by providing artists of color with resources that empower and display our stories in public spaces all over the nation. Her book (A)live Heart is available on Sibling Rivalry Press.
Please email resume and cover letter to email@example.com
Job Title: Managing Director
Status: Part-Time 20-25 hours per week
RADAR Productions seeks an organized, detail-oriented Managing Director to join our team. The Director’s responsibilities include acting as a member of RADAR’s leadership, develop annual budgets, handle day-to-day financial and human resources operations, support the execution of programming and participate in organizational strategy.
The managing director works closely with the executive director to implement RADAR’s four core programs and ensure the financial stability of the organization. Availability to work evenings is required. The ideal candidate has thorough understanding of QuickBooks and is fluent in all aspects and functions of bookkeeping. Passion for queer literature and creativity is a must.
Founded in 2003, RADAR Productions is one of the nation’s highest profile literary arts organizations focused on queer and trans people of color (QTPOC). Our presenting, commissioning and touring programs re-imagine what the literary arts can be, stimulate the production of work by QTPOC artists and explore the community-building role played by literature and the arts. Our programs build community and create a platform for innovative, emerging and mid-career queer and trans artists of color whose works challenge mainstream concepts of culture, race, gender, sexuality and class and authentically reflect the experiences of QTPOC.
Throughout its 13-year history RADAR has employed the arts to build and amplify a queer community that creates innovative artistic interventions to culture, meaningful transformation for artists’ lives and life-changing and life-affirming access to the literary arts for our audiences. RADAR has always prioritized an inward-facing method: queer artists dialoguing with queer audiences in hopes of strengthening and affirming community, rather than queer artists representing a monolithic queer experience to straight audiences in hopes of being humanized. As such, RADAR prioritizes artistic process/practice, recognizing that the spirit of experimentation, creativity and “art first” has greater potential for cultural change than the expectation that queer artists consistently be expected to be representational first.
THESE SOFT THINGS
i am open
so taste me
of my flesh
it was so
long ago that
i was walking
streets made of
i am too filled
to walk anywhere
with my blissful
legs, my bruised
these soft things
w e r q
for lunch i eat hot cheetos & read
most days i am too poor & sleep deprived to pack a lunch
i put on my best wig
paint my eyes crimson
i wash my hands in the employee bathroom like ritual
still fingers stained red
i am the only register
o p e n
always a servile thing
wore my best wig for you today, ‘suh
didn’t you notice
do you like it
wore it just for you
i’m not allowed to touch their hands when they pay me
no, this is not written in the handbook
call it an unwritten rule
people like me just know these things
even on my best behavior i be too corner store to touch
i pick money off of the counter
i am not allowed to make eye contact with them
we don’t even use the same bathroom
i bet they don’t think i know anything
that i’ve never read a book in my life
just sell them
programmed with answers
a servile thing
o p e n
i play girl for 8 hours
i play blk for 24
this barely pays for my rent
but we free now
in the union
guess that means something to y’all
i don’t sleep to dream
i’ll play dead if you want me to
a servile thing
even in my dreams i am not blk enough
even in my dreams
i am anything but
AFTER WE SHOOT A BREAKDOWN
IN THE MOVIE OF MY LIFE
The director pulls me aside and says they are
thinking of rewriting the script. Our original plan
was to stay as true to real life as possible but we think
it’s just missing something.
I am exhausted. We have just filmed the part
where I pull out my hair and punch myself in the
face as my mother watches. Like what? I ask.
It’s just. We know you’re telling the truth when you say
this stuff happened. But we don’t know if the audience
will be convinced. We think we need to add something
to the story to make you behaving like this believable.
I touch at my bruised peach
of a cheek self-consciously as they continue.
No one runs out into the street just because.
Or cuts off all their friends out of boredom.
There’s got to be a reason.
We need to write a scene in that explains this
whole thing. It’s not enough to say that your
head works like that. It’s not realistic to say
that you’d ruin everything around you
just because you can.
I pull skin
over my eyes
you are so
a man barges through the screen
to hook his fingers in my mouth.
i’m a fish market. i’m flattening into the bed.
rolled out. cooking off the rotten bits.
his boot heel’s a fork in my tongue.
i’m dimpled. gilled. asking for a god
who wears bones slick with pity.
asking to be bent, taken by firelight.
smelt from iron. pierced through with spokes.
a wheel for a head. a garage for a mother.
i want to ask the ones who crave a soft thing to tie up
if they think of ham, wake up covered in glaze
and lick their own shoulders,
scald their tongues on their cunts.
i’m a skillet overflowing sticky
til the bourbon burns off.
i’m the menace. i’m the menace.
i’m the mother of stink.
question: how does a ruined girl yield
the way a knight yields? whose pipeline am i blowing
up, exactly? if you ask a man to drink
from your faucet, do you become him?
i pull my man atop me and ask to be buried in brick
but beggars can’t be shepherds. he’s a reverse cowboy.
a slinging zookeeper. i’m the beast
rattling the cage, asking for slaughter.
When the man on the subway refers to me as It
It becomes a tunnel
without sound, a dark pit.
I fall in
rein back my pride,
chew a bridle of spit--
teeth bite hard to spurn my wild tongue’s fits.
I must be doing something right
if no tits,
a buzzcut and no prick
bring me hate speech in transit.
I have a seat, I sit.
& dream up a palace where I’m King I fit.
I’ve been craving
wanting love, wholeness, but then, I feel it--
a wild orchard of peaches
blooming from one pit.
I don’t have a name to call you
I walk up and down the dark avenues
and the air is thick with growing things
the last flail of bloom
before the spring mellows to summer
and my eyes grow used to the violence of green