JAYNE CORTEZ

I AM NEW YORK CITY

i am new york city
here is my brain of hot sauce
my tobacco teeth my
mattress of bedbug tongue
legs apart hand on chin
war on the roof insults
pointed fingers pushcarts
my contraceptives all
look at my pelvis blushing
i am new york city of blood
police and fried pies
i rub my docks red with grenadine
and jelly madness in a flow of tokay
my huge skull of pigeons
my séance of peeping toms
my plaited ovaries excuse me
this is my grime my thigh of
steelspoons and toothpicks
i imitate no one
i am new york city
of the brown spit and soft tomatoes
give me my confetti of flesh
my marquee of false nipples
my sideshow of open beaks
in my nose of soot
in my ox bled eyes
in my ear of saturday night specials
i eat ha ha hee hee and ho ho
i am new york city
never-change-never-sleep-never-melt
my shoes are incognito
cadavers grow from my goatee
look i sparkle with shit with wishbones
my nickname is glue-me

Take my face of stink bombs
my star spangled banner of hot dogs
take my beer can junta
my reptilian ass of footprints
and approach me through life
approach me through death
approach me through my widow’s peak
through my split ends my
asthmatic laugh approach me
through my wash rag
half ankle half elbow
massage me with your camphor tears
salute the patina and concrete
of my rat tail wig
face up face down piss
into the bite of our handshake
i am new york city
my skillet-head friend
my fat-bellied comrade
citizens
break wind with me

 

SACRED TREES
Every time I think about us women
I think about the trees the trees
escaping from an epidemic of lightning
the sacred trees exploding from
compressed matter of cuckoo spit trees
the raped trees flashing signals through
toxic acid of sucking insects
trees used as decoy installations trees
I have the afternoon leaves throbbing
in my nostrils
I have the struggling limbs sprouting from
these ear lobes
I have a power stump shooting from
out of this forehead
I have clusters of twigs popping from
tattooed moles
& sometimes I feel
like the tree trunk
growing numb & dead
from ritual behavior
sometimes I feel like the tree ripping
from the core of ancient grievances
Trees
I feel like
the family tree
relocating under pressure
Trees
I feel like the frantic tree
trying to radiate through
scorched surfaces
sometimes I feel like
the obscure tree
babbling through silver-plated mouth
of a shrinking moon
& sometimes I feel like a tree
hiccupping through
heated flint of gunpowder crevices
I feel like a tree
& every time I think about us women
I think about the trees
I think about
the subversive trees laden in blood
but not bleeding
the rebellious trees encrusted
but not cracking
the abused trees wounded
but still standing
I think about the proud trees
the trees with beehive tits buzzing
the transparent trees
the trees with quinine breath hovering
the trees swaying & rubbing their
stretch-marked bellies
in the rain
the crossroad trees coming from
the tree womb
of tree seeds
Trees
I think about the trees
& sometimes I feel like
a superstitious tree
smelling negative & fragile
& full of dislocated sap
I feel like
the tree stampeding from
a cadre of earth tremors
I feel like the forgotten tree
that can’t live here no more
sometimes I feel
like the tree that’s growing wild
through the wildlife left
in the petroleum pipeline
I feel like a tree
A tree caught
in the catacomb of bones
enslaved in
red-light districts of oppression
I feel like a barricade of trees
& sometimes
I feel like the tree
that’s lucky to be a tree
in the time of
missing trees
I feel like a tree
that’s happy to be a tree
among disappearing trees
Trees
I feel beautiful
like an undestroyed
rainforest of trees
I feel like a tree
laughing in the rawness
of the wind
I feel like a tree
& every time I think about us women
I think about the trees
I think about the trees

HISTORY
Dear Friends
I am not talking about
the black writer and
his white literary father
i’m talking about
black music opposed to
enslavement & colonialism
yes jazz has a color
without that fact
there is no jazz

 

OGUN’S FRIEND
(Metal Workshop)
I saw your eyes like bumps of flint
i saw your shoes like high-top boulders
i saw your hands like faces of fire
i saw your fingers like axes of Shango
i saw your body like a rocker of steel
Yo
i heard a hum down there
i heard a rumble down there
i heard a ghost down there
i heard a thunderbolt expel down there
i heard a anvil in the night go hummmmmmmm
down there
Hey whose metals are shouting so loud
they must be the tapper that Ogun knows
whose are those beads so hot and black
they must be brass for Ogun to fill
who’s that worker with corrugated gums
it must be the worker that Ogun chose
who’s that one with feet like flames
it must be the welder that’s Ogun’s friend
Yo
i smell a chicken in here
i smell some charcoal in here
i smell a goat in here
i smell some wax in here
i smell a dog in here
i smell some clay and some oil and some blood in here
Hey i see your chains like links of teeth
crowbars
i see your coils like female pouches
barbed wire
i see your grills like braided snakes
fish-net
i see your ladder like a totem of pliers
crocodiles
i see your pipes like razors on tusks
wine bottles
i see your scissors and your keys on the table in there
uh-huhn
Yo
you got pant legs made into hats
you got diamond plates made into walls
you got straightening combs made into steps
you got hammer-heads made into skulls
you got flat-rings made into ears
Pant legs diamond plates
straightening combs hammer-heads
flat-rings
yo
I feel your flux
i feel your sander
i feel your drill bit
i feel your grinder
i feel your drill press
i feel your hack saw
i feel your brick ax
Yo
i saw your windows like sheets of steel
i heard a gong down there
i saw some navels like bushes of wire
i heard a bird down there
Hey
you got lizard tongues made into tongs
i feel your bald spot
you got snakeskins covered in bronze
i feel your chin marks
lizard tongues bald spots
snakeskins chin marks
yo
i smell some fish in here
i see a rail down there
i smell some toes in here
i see a horn down there
i smell some funk in here
i see a knife down there
i smell some ratheads in here
i see a person down there
Who’s that one so brown and fine
Ogun’s friend
who’s that one in green on green
Ogun’s friend
who’s that one who eats so fast
Ogun’s friend
who’s that one with toothpaste lips
Ogun’s friend
who’s that one who spits on tools
Ogun’s friend
Yo Ogun’s friend

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