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.