How Manifestos Are Made
If I fail my mouth this story plays again.
Back home he yanks mama's mouth
round into screams, burns
her vocal cords to sing the real blues
of men who can't stand to be exposed
so stare the world down in rage
and red, not the toothbrush too hard red
but the red of knuckles busted by teeth,
teeth ground down into grit,
eardrums that vomit
sticky one note dirges red.
her nightingales stranded in the winter
of his cold cocktail gins,
croaks out a song
when he bends her neck,
bruises a darker green
as the skin rushes together
in his fist,
a bouquet crumbling
in the relentless boil
of a man never satisfied
by just one song.
If I fail my mouth this story plays again
can't close, closet, or cease.
I must be the skip in the disk.
Be the fracture that makes the needle jump out
and land on anything but this.
Used by permission.
Arhm Choi is a poet from Ann Arbor, MI, with a MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She has competed nationally at the Youth Poetry Slam and has been published in The Canadian Theater Review, Peal, Otoliths, and Scholars & Rogues. She has taught writing workshops at the Neutral Zone, Jackson Community College, Youth Alive! in Detroit, and the YWCA.
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