goodnight, moon

Mahogany L. Browne


& everything around me says run/he love me anyway/the way only his mouth sits, silent/-- his eyes move, they say everything/& the static turns into the TV screen/a grey overcast of noise/& the stars know this kind of swoon/how the tension of a tongue don't mean much/to a black sky//when i hold his hand to my chest/ i think/he believes-- i am the sky//so i say: i am the sky & everything around me is on fire./& the subway train is running right now/a lover is coming home late, but returning home/still//& nobody will sleep in the lover's house/until the key kisses the lock hello/& the silence is greeted with a refrigerator hum/or a library book turning beneath the glowing husk//this is how most hearts sing a murmur//this is why my heart whispers run//&  the moon wishes someone would wait/for her to return to the apartment/ & the moon is gracious & giving & who will hold her when she nods herself almost awake/exhausted & dilapidated across town/into a too small pre-war apartment/& the moon cannot remember when there was a warm palm to wipe away her tired//////////////the way she wipes away the sun’s bruises setting/every night the way the moon give her shoulders to the light last night, the moon hummed/i've been running from the freedom of my own blood/i know lonely...i know...i know...i know.../because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because becausebecause because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because because////////////////////


As a woman writer, teaching artist and performer, I am wracked with the constant churn associated with women performers and stereotypes. I have witnessed women writers instructed to “dance” while hosting a poetry showcase. I have witnessed women performers instructed to dress scantily for the pleasure of the audience. Even in the eye of such a storm, a hurricane full of fear, judgment and disappointment – I have watched these women succumb to the requests because it was easier to compromise their integrity than fight the stereotypical machine. The story of black women serving others with little regard to their own needs is a recurring one, indeed. My story exists because ofAlice Walker’s Color Purple and Jayne Cortez’ Coagulations. My story is rooted in movement, truth and permission. It is because of these black and women poets that I have found the world of writing, beckoning me forward, pressuring me to insert my own voice.