Issue 8 / Poetry

Poetry by Jonathan Jacob Moore

frank ocean and all black things that disappear on their own

you deserve time

before the proverbial train hits

and the album drops


you both prepare for the reactions

molecular and digital:                                                 “where this nigga at”

he lived full and died empty.

and ain’t that what they say about you, frank?

you in hiding because the hook would Sodom and Gomorrah us?

some people practice becoming ash



                                                            we are in shock and              lost”


but you hate coming outside, sometimes, too… don’t you, frank?

and you write in a song you never wrote but i hear

you sing it

on the tracks or wherever you’ve taken up residence:

some days when my whole/body hurts/the biggest blessing/the sweetest curse


“So Much to say but not enough pen or paper”                 


                                                                                                                        or the blackest

thing is dying empty and being filled to the brim

you have no time to go ghost when you are               already            you get back in the

studio                               still translucent                        and you, get off the tracks

right before the album drops               right before your shot at acclaim.

and you could never get the ashes thing down.

you are heavy              all hook                       number-one-single.



owed to the work

THE WORK is over when glazed eye sings song of insistence/deep breath out the door/ exhale when it locks/five feet of cellular update and stubbornness/warm quip on the tip and water/enough to die in and soak the howling wounds/black is blue before it hits/no that’s a myth/an insanity chewing cud/no that’s a myth/at the dinner table/generations of table manners/tip-toe-tongue and folded napkin hanging announces my return to the feast/tummy rumble wild with reincarnation and no utensils but the young/oh light dessert/oh feeding foes/oh clean-plate-club and other teachings in forgetting bloated belly babies/bones/here/we lick them clean/oh lick/exfoliating ashy excess and this be the work/getting back in line for the ride again/oh main attraction/a new world record for vertical drops and make believe.


I work 9 to 6/praise to the extra hour/the digestion of my bloating screams.

I wipe my mouth/ask for seconds.




for bitchboi

“so the gag is” nobody wants to hire bitchboi

soggy tinder for her own blue-black fires, bitchboi


wears necklace of disrespect, the loudest amulet

‘round their neck to ward off hole-hearted tryers, bitchboi


makes sense of the wounds’ succulent humor & bites down

professional eater of the crossfire bitchboi


laid up under some “why not?” nigga in the morning

smell like his home, ‘cept concrete, unexpired bitchboi


launders life out of seashells & into pulsing shadows

summoner, summoning ground, its own choir, bitchboi




Jonathan Jacob Moore, or Jon Jon, is a Black Mexican bitchboi & hoodqueer poet from Detroit. He studies at Tufts University and is Founding President of the Spoken Word Alliance at Tufts. Jonathan appreciates good hugs, cold cheesecake, and motor-city- sweet-Black pettiness. His work has been featured or is soon to appear in The Black Napkin, Shade, Vinyl, and Winter Tangerine among others. Check him out on Twitter @hoodqueer. Selected by Kamden Hilliard.

Image copyright Paul Kretek via Flickr Creative Commons.