Photo by Jeff Sirkin




 . . .


blessed be            /            blessed be            /            blessed be

a boi knifed         from the cattle’s                           rotting

lungs, golden brown                       child imposed against

the smoking      pavement’s                          silted chest

if            they hold him there long enough               will he

sediment            into the porous                stones, gone

forever                                 /              melted baby boi                /               ice cream kid

leaving                                 behind only his                sticky stench for us

to rinse ourselves in.     how else do we remember

our loves; we must wear               their too small heels

and dance          across the                               fracturing                                           mausoleum

our        mouths                 coated in a red     so thick              /               luminous

it must be quoted            direct from their                still boiling blood

we arrive            dressed in their names                                      ready for war



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we arrive dressed in their names readied with war

horses by the dozen, the thousands, the millions

we know they will come thirsty for land and skin

a tidal wave of angry sticks launch at us, pointed

end first. but did we not create the sidestep out

of dance, just to avoid their spears; and let us

be quite honest about our reasons, we are not

hungered for soil, looking for space or gold

there is no power higher than my grandmother’s

fried chicken that we must obtain. yes, even there

the words sound so dirty in my mouth; ownership.

the friction between want and have, the space

between their knife and the soft underbelly of

our throats, singing, “we are free; we are free”



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our throats, sing, “we are free; we are free”

and yet, i fear it might be time to build the boat

to shovel in all our loves, some by their remains

the good roots of their hair. to find a place,

a planet, maybe, that will take to our scalp

and bloom, wild—river children, sweet silked

edges laid to rest by grease and a hot comb

i wish it were so simple to construct the bridge

from here to nowhere close, a world built on

forgetting the shape of monuments, i say in spite

i’m sorry, i am stalling, again. to watch lightning’s

slow capture of tree bark, of limestone, of cobbled—

—path. i don’t want to leave here, i just must find

a place where my body is not up for auction or debate



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*** ** ***



a place where my body is not up for auction or debate

seems unlikely. but let’s call the spade by another name

for once. it has taken me three lifetimes to get to here

and all of the people seem just as stank. just as ready

to cast me off the edge of their dust covered planet.

it seems unlikely, we belong anywhere not made from

silly putty gums. the wet gnash; whipping at the back

of our necks with heat’s violent belt. i must ask why

this feels so familiar; this ache rattling the forest

of my stomach. what happened to all the children

with the buttered artichoke hearts and fried

okra smiles; i don’t trust much here i can’t call

my own, that is not covered in glitter and brown and




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*** ** ***




and brown

and glitter covered

we search

for a planet

we can call

our own.

“we are


“we are


by the cut

of our

spilling throats



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*** ** ***



cut the spilling throats

pour the souring soda from its palms

release the flock of fluttering balloons

into the night sky’s open and willing jaws

this is after all a celebration, right; something was

born or dead or made over again by what

we tend to think is god or luck or supposed to be

a million lilies freeing themselves

from the undersides of our tongues

and what light they bring to the surface

carve the ghost into their best dresses

play the music slow for them to turn trans

lucent gold; children of the forgotten trees

come among us to sing your songs



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*** ** ***



come among us to sing your songs

of glory, O’ glory of the crystal glistened

skin. O’ glory of chicken fattened in the grease—

—still sweat, the pop/the bubble/the braising limbs.

O’ glory the neck bone hidden in the drenched

leaves soaked in salt. O’ glory to the first

dance, the first shake, the first lung belting

out a sweet hymn. O’ glory to the boy. O’ glory

to the girl. O’ glory to the boi in body flipped

in new skin. O’ glory to the kiss, the moon

to the night full of kin our new names we brought

here, alive! we have made it! we have made it, safe;

blessed be           /blessed be/                         blessed be



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jason b. crawford
(They/Them) is a writer born in Washington DC, raised in Lansing, MI. Their debut chapbook collection Summertime Fine is out through Variant Lit. Their second chapbook Twerkable Moments is out from Paper Nautilus Press. Their third chapbook, Good Boi, is out from Neon Hemlock press. Their debut Full Length Year of the Unicorn Kidz will be out in 2022 from Sundress Publications. crawford holds a Bachelor of Science in Creative Writing from Eastern Michigan University and is the co-founder of The Knight’s Library Magazine. crawford is the winner of the Courtney Valentine Prize for Outstanding Work by a Millennial Artist, Vella Chapbook Contest, and Variant Lit Chapbook Contest. They are the 2021 OutWrite chapbook contest winner in poetry. Their work can be found in Split Lip Magazine, Glass Poetry, Four Way Review, Voicemail Poems, FreezeRay Poetry, and HAD, among others. They are a current poetry MFA candidate at The New School.


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