The Boiler

Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi

DISCUSSION ON DROUGHT

1.
My breasts                             fresh
                                                 with stretchmarks
boast unwarranted pride.

They have no reason           to be               so heavy
except                                     because         they are
so heavy and full

there must be                        a reason.
Is being woman                    enough?
Am I allowed to grow

for the fuck of it                    become more me
like that                                  without small mouth
to put to nipple?

This isn’t a question             of self-love.
Of course                                I am allowed
because fuck                          anyone

who says I’m not.                  What
about fact:                              the deepest me
wants to become

the sun                                    for someone else.
Here I am                               shining
with no one to see.

Yes                                           I see it. Yes
technically                             that is enough
but

doesn’t soil want                   nothing more
than to mother
seeds?


(A FEW) REASONS WHY I MIGHT BE STRESSFUL TO WORK WITH

This rage is a place
they say we have no right to visit.
Be silent, still, untrembling.
Unclench fist. Remove
hard glisten from eyes and smile—
look how far you’ve come.

Look at all the power we have,
in control of our own destinies—
and didn’t I go to college?

Aren’t I so lucky
things have changed?

If my boss tells me
Look as diverse as possible
and to wrap my head in a scarf
for the presentation
it’s because my skin and name
are finally in fashion—
I should embrace the tools I have
for every advantage.

At work I am told
to not be so serious.
My quiet anger is an observation
which draws comment, yet

the vigil for the boy slain
by police just 30 minutes away
is not a conversation for the office—
and when a coworker asks
if I’ve yet seen Beauty
and the Beast I do not say
I could not be paid to see it.

I do not speak
of the beasts walking among us,
handing out lies like candy,
showing teeth when we don’t
want to eat what is offered.


THE BLUES

1.
Blue.
Its walls are said to bring peace.
Go to your dentist or bank and see
how you are made to feel at ease
with periwinkle
                              cornflower
                                                   azure.

2.
When Blue makes music
                                              it is not of peace—
Black snake crawling in my room, feelings of
                                                                           falling
walking shoes clean off feet

3.
This is called balance.

4.
Blind Lemon Jefferson bought gin
in Deep Ellum
                             where once was Elm.
               Names change according to who speaks.
Lead Belly left space between his but
the world had its way, made it all one word.

5.
When my father says my name it is music.
The world refuses to try, does not care for tongues
to make new shape, adds stress to the wrong place
and says it is strange, exotic.
But where are you really from?
                America does not believe she birthed me,
continuously renames me something more palatable,
less percussion beneath full moon,
less blues—

6.
They say it is the most guttural, real
                                                              music.
The blues was the first time we were allowed
to show pain: call it entertainment
and let it move you.
                                     Call it
                                                 Maltese Cat, Happy New Year, Oil Well,                                                                                        Empty House, Dynamite, Eagle Eyes.
Sing it until the good Lord brings daylight
and make Lord a woman
and give her skin like cinnamon
instead of milk
               for once—
                             feel your chemistry change.

7.
And the Lorde rejects the master’s tools,
says taking down that Big House requires new
models of thinking. When the tools of racist patriarchy
are used to examine the fruits of that same patriarchy
               see how water stands
                                    still—
               Mammy brought back time and again,
               Strange Fruit in new forms
so that there is no current,
just the illusion of waves,
just the illusion of change,
just the lie
               that the blues are dead.

 


Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi is the founder of Dark Moon Poetry & Arts, a monthly series which spotlights the creative feminine and non-binary energies of North Texas. She can often be found on sidewalks using her typewriter to birth poems for strangers. She has been published in Entropy, Anthropology Now!, Bearing the Mask, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured by WFAA, KERA, the Dallas Morning News, and others. Her chapbook, Moon Woman, is forthcoming from Thoughtcrime Press. Her favorite things outside of poetry are family, cats, and trees. Find her at https://fatimaayanmalikahirsi.com/