My father was so in love with me, he called me “Big-Time.”
Even when shit drunk, my name & love, too—
Automatic & un-slurred. But now, the only “big-time” is trouble.
I stand in front of the boy who is no longer a boy.

Not liquor drunk but man-up faded & foolish,
Our fists ready for menacing.
I stand in front of the boy who is no longer a boy,
Bluffing the brawl which eventually happens.

Not liquor drunk but man-up faded, foolish.
A-U-T-O-matic when any show of might instigates a 17-year-old;
The brawl, no longer a bluff, is happening.
A-U-T-O-matic for a few minutes of the world flickering tv-snow blind.

A-U-T-O-matic as the might of a 17-year-old
Becomes reduced to hissing.
A-U-T-O-matic for a few blind minutes.
Beware when any scolding composes music

To the tune of solo hisses.
Single notes dragging across a violin grow & roar.
Beware of what I compose as scolding.
I am tussling with my son, striking chords,

Single notes growing & roaring.
Then—silent. His whole face: open season.
And I am slapping my son. And I am hitting my son,
Allowing temper & fists to lead this melody

A clamor louder than my son’s face. What have I opened
in me? What is breaking allowing violence to be right?
Why are temper & fists leading this melody
This song is “big-time” wrong as

Violence breaks:
purple star: your eye:
tell me what to do.

purple: your eye:
“big-time” wrong:
so in love with you.

* “A Prince-toum uses the poetic form of a Pantoum and Prince’s music as a tight lens or aperture to take a deep dive toward memoir.” -Amy Gerstler

Rippling Through the Dark

Light / traipses through water and water / envelopes my mother’s hands. / How her hands have torqued / my dark body—a kind of light / I’ve never understood


I’m like how did I miss this Toni is my girl I remember all / them car rides when my mother played the hell out of Toni’s debut album in 93’