Two Poems by Aziza Barnes



pay me what you owe me in properties of remembrance, dude. this do to the mother of my current predicament, a lowly instrument to ritual. the payment in question has a computer, a memory & the nerve to bitch. I am thoroughly addicted to Shakespeare, talk that is the talk of nothing, dreams, the debut of I’d rather be with you, may I unlive the gentle strike of your cotton pickin’ hands. Yosemite Sam was a racist, & guns endeavor my kid laugh, laugh kin to laugh of baby sister fell asleep head first in her cereal. never mind that we all expiring, for real for real. convicted of a lonely vibration, my dear I is, as I lay up under whomever & picture the first of things: seeing my government name in the bible. not my full, but my first & I am cut in the subliminal fashion.

I wonder if mama could smell it. that I was in love, unlawful. out of favor & with funk. I’m right here, steady. I’m standing straight back, shadow. I found you one mo’ gin, pimpin’& I’ll be a son of a gun if I could just get that first shot clean. the premiere is potent. your face & no teeth grin, I’d Yosemite Sam that bitch (you, always) in my pj’s & cornrows. I make fists underneath my desk when I write & jump the bed when I corroborate in the subconscious. if I could do it all again, I wouldn’t do it all again. I engage in regret-logic for a quick one: beads at the ends of my braids, wind-chime systems of alarm, would vane my mama to that closet you said no eyes could open in. she’d find me & us & me in her blue slip you told me to wear & unlive you. your mama remodeled my mama kitchen which is insulting & I think of you when I eat.


A Brief Catalogue of Minor Sex Scandals

“In 1984 I'm living in a townhouse with my mom and her current boyfriend, both poker dealers, both working graveyard shifts at, respectively, the Riviera (which is still around) and the El Rancho (long gone).”

Three Pantoums by Lo Kwa Mei-en

“Analog Mockingbird Pantoum”; “The Crane Wife’s Heart is Pure, The Crane Wife’s Product is Pure Pantoum”; and “Yellow Swan Pantoum”