I'm working
to capture a woman's torso
and ask her to lie on my page
so I can watch her and compare
her breasts to mine,
hips and lips.
I know she's beautiful and I ask
her how. She just shakes the fat
of her belly and laughs.
You don't understand,
I tell her. But she just lifts her black arm
off the page
rubs my nipple and smiles.

On Reading leadbelly by Tyehimba Jess

like a beautiful black Bukowski
with his cunts and guns and whiskey
but he isn’t speaking
for himself, but for the solar system
of lives around
Huddie Ledbetter.

oh, to put yourself in those broken
lonely shoes, to crack calluses against
the steel strings of that first second
hand guitar. who has the pain
to imagine that? who leaps willingly
into that type of prison shattered, self-
loathing prism?