Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 2 • Summer 2002 • Featured Writer • Poetry


Emanuel Xavier

Criticized for ambition
crucified for success
and yet every time I reach a new peak
I see another mountain I want to climb
Surviving the streets as a hustler
does not mean I have to spread my ass cheeks
wide open for publication
open the gates of banjee heaven for profiles or reviews
throw my legs high up in the raw air
until I can touch the grace of God with my callused feet
or prostitute my prose by pounding my peers with slam poetry
I will not humor you with verse about apology or regret
I will not stand before you and pretend to be a visionary bard
I will not memorize my lines to impress you
with passion and strength
I will not punctuate each word to show clarity and depth
I will not define myself as a humble spiritual activist poet
pretending not to want your attention
because I am far too complex to be anything close to simple
and far too scarred to be your warrior without pain
I give voice to my experiences without shame
emotionally crippled enough to turn to others for love
Yet, Amiri Baraka once wrote that the word 'love'
spelled backwards is 'e-v-o-l' pronounced "evil"
I wonder if Amiri knew that adding 'u-t-i-o-n' to that
would give us 'evolution' and tongues untied
Sarah Jones once wrote,
"your revolution will not happen between these thighs,
your revolution will not happen between these thighs"
and the revolution will not happen between my legs
but evolution will continue to grow inside this womb
until I birth this rage inside of me
drenched in prose and fed by poetry
fathered by poverty and the richness of reality
this child will be born with blood smeared on bookshelves
and his or her name shall be Art
It will have many verbal brothers and sisters
because this whore from the piers
this queen self-crowned
has yet to whisper in many more ears
with verses that are yet to come
from a kingdom fortressed by five nails
with which I scratch and crawl
engrave my name in history
clench my fist
tattoo the letters 'l-o-v-e' on my knuckles
to fight for this poetry in my heart
I am not done fighting yet
I am not done reading yet
I am not done writing yet
the future is in our words

Emanuel Xavier

Emanuel Xavier is the author of poetry collections Pier Queen and Americano and the novel Christlike, and he is the editor of Bullets & Butterflies: queer spoken word poetry. He is also the founder of the House of Xavier and creator of the annual Glam Slam competition. He has appeared on television as a host of In The Life, on Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry, and he has co-starred in the feature film The Ski Trip. He is a recipient of the Marsha A. Gomez Cultural Heritage Award and a New York City Council citation. Visit emanuelxavier.com for more.

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