Thursday Apr 18

HandMonicaA. Monica A Hand is a poet and book artist currently living in Harlem, USA.  Her manuscript, me and Nina received a 2010 Kinereth Gensler Award and is forthcoming from Alice James Books.  Her poems have appeared in Aunt Chloe, Black Renaissance Noire, The Sow’s Ear, Drunken Boat, Beyond the Frontier, African-American Poetry for the 21st Century, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade and elsewhere.  She holds a MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation from Drew University and is a founding member of Poets for Ayiti.

From the language of ash

The translator undresses.  Tries on the shape of the work she translates.  Stuffs her new
belly with his engorged sex.  Tries not to re-write his words tries to give her self over
to his syntax.  In the end, she wears her same nakedness.
volcano spews ash
thick clouds that touch the heavens
cover her body
transient—passing by or away from one place to another.
her thick fingers
trees damaged by a hard storm
downed power lines
rendering something written or spoken in different but equivalent form or state
to a different place, office, or sphere by which information in messenger RNA directs the sequence

from the language of ash:    the women in her family are beautiful and alone.
yellow park flower
its petals its leaves

Things that stink

their breath their sweat
especially when they are lying on top of you
or when they have fallen off of you and you are listening to them snore and fart
when they are your father stumbling up the stairs or passed out on the sofa
in all his cloths smelling of cigarettes vomit and stale women’s cologne
when he is smacking your mother around and you can smell her near
you are supposed to be sleeping
when they sit next to you on the subway
when they yell “hey baby” as you are walking to school
when they are happy dancing with their pants falling off
slobbering on your neck playing cards talking shit
just mean

when they are lilies at a funeral
bed sheets the day after when the dark has removed its mask

The Spirituals speak

With their many tongues, we were the one language they could each speak
Even the masters understood underneath the hump and hale, labor of the load
We healed the numbing made
Even when she abandoned us for the music of bars and sex, you could hear
Spirit in her sway; watch her feet remember stomping
Her body ring shouts
We made her we un-troubled the waters became her balm in Gilead
A deep down light in her darkest days we a band of angels
Come to take her home