ARS POETICA V

 KIRWYN SUTHERLAND

I never obsess over words but fade caught me up in its’ elasticity. Style and Instruction. I told a barber “fade!” and he two-toned me. I was too scared to ask if it could be reversed. Butchered head rising from a swirling black cape, I said “fade”, a soft prayer, anointing the shame with illusion

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(My hair, the only reliable pretty. The only part of my body I let someone else groom)

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I remember the first time it worked. A dense cloud of curls transforming slowly into naked skin. A perfect gradient. On me. Perfect, on me

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The air outside of the barbershop is contaminated, life happens: heat, water, sweat boiling, sleeping disheveled, rushing without greasing or brushing will inevitably collapse the dream. A model of symmetry transforming quickly into a whuffin’ shadow. All scruffy around the edges of corners, coming undone at the seam of pattern

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Happiness never stays how you want it framed. One time I said I would pretend racism didn’t exist; just threw the notion in the air like glitter and saw shiny squares of film curl into hard pellets. Felt like my mom pinching my skin to straighten my spine.

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I saw another video while trying to make the best of America.

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I have too much good in me to want the police officer’s gun but I imagine becoming my visions and then again what good would that do and then again why do I have to be good?

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It’s this thing I have with being right, vacillating between wanting to win and wanting justice. I have to manage what revolution means. I think sometimes I confuse it with fantastical anger streaking blood

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It must come from always feeling weight, compressed down so far I disappear
inside color

KIRWYN SUTHERLAND is a Ciinical Research Professional and poet who makes poems centering the black experience in America.  He is a Watering Hole fellow and has attended workshops/residencies at Cave Canem, Winter Tangerine, Poets House, Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, and Pearlstein Art Gallery at Drexel University.    Kirwyn’s work has been published in American Poetry Review, Blueshift Journal, APIARY Magazine, FOLDER, The Wanderer and elsewhere.  Kirwyn has served as Editor of Lists/Book Reviewer for WusGood magazine and poetry editor for APIARY Magazine. Kirwyn is currently teaching Spoken Word/Poetry Performance at the University of the Arts and has a chapbook, Jump Ship, forthcoming from Thread Makes Blanket Press.

TINY SPILLS
  • Your writer crush: So many right now but I will limit to 7 — Julian Randall, Kiese Laymon, Saidiyah Hartman, Airea D. Matthews, Quenton Baker, Camonghne Felix, Simone White

  • Best Breakfast: Salmon Patties + Grits + Eggs

  • Character (TV, book, movie) you most identify with: Paperboi, Paperboi, always ’bout that paper boy!

  • Your sign: Aquarius season!