But you can’t have my money.
–Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, in conversation with a Black Lives Matter leader
& you can’t have my phone. slide & divide my nothing no more. play my beats or eat my cake in the bathroom stall while your wife pour it up & oh she can’t have that no more neither. can’t have my rows in your head wired down with my cousin acrylics & DAX. can’t have my sidewalks littered with my dead once called your kill that’s my head. can’t have my beats & I can’t emphasize that enuf my mix tapes my CDs my Motown recording studios my Bird my Prince my Prince my Prince or my Pryor or my long ass dick or my sweet pussy poppin’ quit daydreaming you fuck about all the shit you can’t have which continues to include my arms, Bernie Mac, Frida Kahlo, a fat ass, James Baldwin & the word “twerk.” sheeyt. imma be here until a good age to die talkin bout all the shit of mine ain’t yours. but fuck it. im brown & distinct. laid out in the sun. only getting more black. with your green in my bag. & your blood in my blood.
suicide as agency
After Thiahera Nurse
well, if you were already planning to kill me, then.
I am black, I am black
God made me, so they said.
& what can I care for birds the whole
hive of them species invalidated. any bitch
that can fly just be a flying bitch any truncated strand
of notes any parable of the dirt any delight.
& what can I know of pleasure then
but suck? but pull clean into mine yours.
a permission to remove what coils what shackles what is
yours to what is yours what of that & the notes out my teeth.
& where will I go if no one will
own me? if I live under leather & hot
hands as choice if I want to die & do it
myself always myself myself a confederate art.
will houses be built atop me
if to be taken I have nothing left?
& what of gimme some & fingernails
trace up my skin & wet body? braided &
insistent of want, what mine?
& what of my rent checks mine & what of
my tax mine & what of my license mine &
what of my loans mine & what of my debts mine
& what of my calls mine & what of my text mine &
what of my keys mine & what of my locks & what
of my ass mine & what of my breasts mine &
what of my cunt mine & what of my locks mine
& what of my electric bills mine & what of my
molded walls mine & what of my plaqued teeth
mine & what of my given moan mine & what
of my sister mine & what of my father mine & what
of my mother mine & what of my property not mine &
mine & what of this unmakes
my lash on the devotion
of a false God & hands up
high hands up high
where he can see them.
Aziza Barnes is blk & alive. Born in Los Angeles, Aziza currently lives in Oxford, Mississippi. Their first chapbook, me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun, was the first winner of the Exploding Pinecone Prize and published from Button Poetry. Her first full length collection i be but i ain’t, from YesYes Books is the winner of the 2015 Pamet River Prize.