Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 11 • Fall 2004 • Poetry

Love Poems for Billy Jack

Qwo-Li Driskill


Let's laugh down
the Alabama sky
warm and moist as
mouths on cocks

Your soft rough elegance
moves against me
like flint over stone
molecules exploding on tongues

I could have kissed
your face
pulverized by fists
splintered by ax handle
folded into you
like your living body
in the trunk of your car

Loved you to your blue diamond
white sapphire


Did these men, these boys
rest their eyes too long
on the curve of
your forearm

Did your salty musk
bring goose bumps
Did the way you ran hand through
hair make them catch their breath

Was it they noticed the hard
lines of men's hands
the way blue jeans hang
on men's waists

Were they afraid
of wanting you soft as
owl feathers brushing the stars
of Coosa County

These men, these boys
who smashed your face unrecognizable
mutilated sternum
doused tires in gasoline
watched you as you became
garish gold flame
sun hot kindling
eye sockets
shot through with red plumes

wanted to hear you
snap and spark like cedar

black smoke banshee shrieking
in the Alabama dark


They could have loved you

Found your hands red hot on pectorals
Atomic tongue down spines

(They needed you alive dancing flame)

They could have written you love poems
with diamond-sapphire

(They needed you alive dancing flame)


These words will lick
up your last breath

You too hot in bones man
You rough elegant ghost man
You once alive man
burn me
to sky

Qwo-Li Driskill is a Cherokee Two-Spirit writer and activist also of African, Irish, Lenape, Lumbee, and Osage ascent. Hir work appears in numerous publications including The Crab Orchard Review, SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures, Many Mountains Moving, and in the anthologies Nurturing Native Languages, Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology, and Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry. S/he is currently living in Three Fires (Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi) and Huron territories while pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at Michigan State University. Hir first book of poetry is forthcoming.

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