IT'S YOUR MUG ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

Venus Thrash

 

SHE GIVE ME SHE BOWL

She give me she bowl
.............sweet of she sugar

She give me she bowl
.............tang of she sauce

She give me she bowl
.............plump like she belly

She give me she bowl
.............to kiss to me mouth

She give me she bowl
.............root of she hunger

She give me she bowl
.............pulp of she flesh

She give me she bowl
.............silk of she petal

She give me she bowl
.............to kiss to me mouth

She give me she bowl
.............thick of she honey

She give me she bowl
.............bloom of she south

She give me she bowl
.............lust of she deep

She give me she bowl
.............to kiss to me mouth

 

ANGEL

I am seven.
I want to be an angel
in the second grade Christmas pageant
because I have never been an angel.

Angels are hushed and still.
Loud as bare feet on a mound of cotton.
Fluttery as leaves on a breezeless night.
I want to be an angel.

I must not bat an eye.
I must stop chasing boys in the hall.
To be in the second grade Christmas pageant
I must act like a lady.

I have never acted like a lady.
I have never been an angel.
I steal my brothers’ cars and trucks.
I pop off the heads of my dolls.

Angels are hushed and still.
I am loud and fluttery.
I have demanded to be called Vince.
I am only seven.

I want the boys to wrestle me not run from me.
I want to peck the cheeks of giggly little girls.
I want to be in the second grade Christmas pageant.
I want to be an angel

because I have never been an angel.
I tear from Auntie’s hand-sewn dresses.
My hair sits in a ratty mess by midday
after Mama made it so pretty for me—

because Mama has said I am her angel.
Daddy loves every loud-laughing, tree-climbing part of me.
They made me too strong to be bound by pink ribbons and bows.
I am seven.

I want to be an angel.

photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis

APPROVAL

Loving women, their gracious curves,
honeyed lips, and pungent scents

is not enough. I want a man
to see me not as one of the boys,

but as one of the girls—to not be
so ready with a high-five, a hard

slap on the back, or a quick pat
on the ass when I score two points

in a pick-up game of basketball.
I want to feel my full bosom

against a muscled chest, be held
by tender, skin-thick hands,

kiss a stubbly face as I did
when I was little, pouting

my lips to Daddy’s scratchy
moustache. I want a man

to tell me, like Dad used to,
I am loved.

 

 

ELEGY FOR THE LIVING

I look at my environment and wonder where the fire went. What happened to everything we used to be?
—Lauryn Hill

A day of sobriety
for Drunk Joe
who hasn’t skipped
the bottle since
crawling back
from ‘Nam in ‘73

A motor powered
wheelchair for Q-Dawg
who finally stopped
thugging when his homeboy
opened up a hole on his spine
resembling pomegranate
gushing with juice
and seeds

Enough self-love
for Latasha, her two kids,
plus one on the way
to fill those empty
nineteen years of her life
already gone plus
generations over

A jump rope
for little NaNa
and her friends
instead of that monster
extension cord

Self-control
for NaNa’s Mama
who skips rope
all over NaNa’s behind
when she mad
at the world
and don’t give
a damn no more.



Venus Thrash is a published poet and fiction writer. She is an adjunct Professor of English at the University of the District of Columbia.

 

Published in Volume 10:2, Spring 2009.

 

Read more by this author:
Venus Thrash: Wartime Issue
Venus Thrash