dezireé a. brown

First off, I’m a blerd. Many of my poems speak to or are inspired by video games and other aspects of popular culture. The poems in this folio are celebrating black feminism, womxn’s sexuality, and black joy while reclaiming what’s been taken from us: our language, our bodies, and our agency. “ode to Tone that ends in a revival.” is an important poem for me especially, because it’s a video game poem that’s directly resisting the idea that video games are electronic garbage.

In terms of form, my poetry is really concerned with white space and how that speaks to the silence that black queer womxn face on a daily basis. In each of our communities, we face an erasure that is both precise and haunting, which can lead to both an inability to use our voices and self-entrapment in the “superhuman” matriarch stereotype. The white space in these poems is an acknowledgement of that silence, of the many black womxn before me who lost their voices, and a reclamation of those words that were stolen. I see them as little containers to pull and trap trauma within the page so that my ancestors’ words can breathe and exist freely.


ode to the walk of shame

lips freshly smudged / afro smushed from the fist / of fingers | you wanted in / your mouth || the same hand / that returns the sequined clutch | with the striped / bra wrapped / up inside || pumps dangle / from giggling wrists / answering | the chatter of birds / and your belly / since you | didn't want breakfast / since you || didn't want more | and they knew / that shit / that black dress || they ripped off/ still fits everywhere you need / | it to / but the sun / the sun / mirrors || this / in ways the moon / could only dream of


an homage to nigga in two parts

I. // This is for that  damn, where you been hiding nigga / and that give me  the fuckin' tea nigga / for the I'm bout  to roast your ass nigga // and that really  nigga, which is to say / throw your hands  up. This is for niggas / who wear rachet  on their sleeve like // a corsage, whose  music can be heard / as they coming  down the street [more // bass please];  who ain't afraid to / laugh like a nigga;  who know a nigga / in a suit and tie  is still  a nigga; // who know a  well-dressed nigga / will still  die  like a nigga; / these the niggas  I break bread with // these them  niggas that are  free // II. // In the car with white  friends listening to K-Dot, // tongues silent, caressing  an absence they expect // me to ignore. Eyes  overturned, buried in the corners // of my lips. These are  your "allies" -- with pauses uncertain, // breath taut, mouths confused.  Dangling.  I know this // is what they do  in the mirror.  Go on then // Say it  now  I dare  you


ode to tone that ends in a revival

after Titanfall II || Tone tells me  we're better together / I | believe her  most when / we are crouched | sonar illuminating  our enemies / and I can | smell  the earth /  burning || I love the way salvo / bursts from her | shoulders /  throaty with weight  of | skulls / eager to claim  another / even | as the legion  threatens / to overrun us || I ask her how  it feels / to be a hundred tons | of doom / and she  chuckles / black women | have always been  titans / pilot | Now focus / prepare the cannon / || here is this titanium / beast slick with blood | stalking bent metal and wrought / iron sword | of bones we draw a precise death || we women crush life together /

dezireé a. brown is a black queer woman poet, scholar, and self-proclaimed social justice warrior, born and raised in Flint, MI. They are currently an MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University, and often claim to have been born with a poem written across their chest. A Poetry and Non-Fiction Editor for Heavy Feather Review, their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kweli, BOAAT, decomP, Cartridge Lit, RHINO, and the anthology Best “New” African Poets 2015, among others. They tweet at @deziree_a_brown.