"Everything you are can & will be used against you." (a poem for you)

Good evening, my darlings, & a very happy World Poetry Day to you! As has become an annual tradition, I'm popping in today to share a new piece in celebration of today. This one was originally published in Indolent Books' WHAT ROUGH BEAST feature—chronicling the lives of the oppressed under the Trump administration—right here.

A quick note that if you are in Singapore, I have an event this evening kindly hosted by the Singapore Poetry Festival called YOUTH IS WASTED ON THE YOUNG, a reading & round table discussion at the Woodlands Regional Library from 7:30 to 9PM. You can RSVP right here—I'll be reading a few poems from the new book & answering some questions on what it's like to be a young artist in this humid & beautiful country.

In the mean time, enjoy this little piece! Here's hoping your day is suffused with poetry & sharpened light. xx


What My Mother Said to Me the First Time I Was Chosen for a Random Security Check at the Airport (Part 1)

everything you are
can & will be used against you


What My Mother Said to Me the First Time I Was Chosen for a Random Security Check at the Airport (Part 2)

Let me elaborate.
This is the one fear I cannot save you from: they
will always choose you. It isn’t fair,
which makes it the truth. You
with your girlhood skin: brown is the color
of bloodstained, color
we don’t speak of in present tense.
Benediction in touch again & again. It’s past time
you learned to put your fear on airplane mode,
erase your own tongue. You must convince them
that every word you speak is not foreign,
which is to say: is not an anagram of death.
You’re a storyteller, my love.
Tell the tale they want to hear, the one
that starts with guilty until proven innocent,
the one that ends in confessional.
In this place where you’ve made the mistake
of breathing, it does not matter how small
you make yourself. My love,
I know you’ve done nothing wrong.
Still & again you must hold your peace
in your mouth. Nothing left to lose
but your limbs, your folding wreckage.
Close your eyes when they touch you.
Pray to the wrong gods.
Try to get out before boarding time.
I’ll be waiting for you on the other side.