Poetry / Xandria Phillips
:: Sativa Song ::
for Brannon Rockwell-Charland it’s me, bitch bud not being and loud as hell when I move you move like a whale and the fire savaging its belly the spark lifting the locust off its haunches that’s what I be dark as detritus covered in rainbow street toxin and oil slick I’m so woke I ain’t never sleep and I don’t need a hook for this shit I’ve got too many thoughts to share on the continuity of this sitcom played in most cases for its high-fructose background jeers I’ve got thoughts on Congress wood grains and quicksand that I want to plant in your kneecaps I’m digging a well with a shovel made from your hunger to house the swell where blood inflates with pulse crosses in grids of pleasure I snap the reigns on your temples it’s time to go I have this boat it’s so lovely and mystic and just everything you’d want in a vessel and blessed as the elevated the boat always leaks and sinks and strands us somewhere too blue to re-access with memory once we’ve left
:: Two-Headed Slake ::
You take the tongue I speak and make me beg it back into my head. Without language, I’m a man stranded and walking barefoot. No nuance. A goat bleating its way home in the dark. I labor sound, a braying siren sans time signature. You lather your hands post-theft, and I translate beasted litany: They’re building a podium to disclose my animalia from. Wooing valleys where my names lived, waxed, and fermented their sigil into the sunken earth. In me they built you a home with a porch swing out back. You colonist, carry me over my threshold. Run up the stairs and run back down. Be thorough. Before the windows distill to fog-licked pelt, turn on every single light in this good damned house.
From the writer
:: Account ::
These forms speak to the parts of myself that need to nest and arrange in order to make sense of environments. Tedious expeditions, more beleaguered than loved by craft, these poems are small, formerly uncharted artifacts about myself. I am someone who wrote from within academic institutions for many formative years. Living outside academia, I now see the ways I was pressured by internal and external variables to be contrary or at constant odds with subjects in my work. At its marrow my poetry existed to disavow because my relevance was constantly questioned. These poems speak to a recentering of value: the risk that I court every time I open the door. I am curious about my stakes in love and pleasure, and how the outside world can so swiftly intrude upon intimacy. I have much to learn from being perceptive about what thrives uninvited at my interior.
Xandria Phillips is a poet based in Chicago. She is the author of Hull (Nightboat Books, 2019) and Reasons For Smoking, which won the 2016 Seattle Review chapbook contest judged by Claudia Rankine. Find her work online at The Offing, The Journal, Nashville Review, Ninth Letter, Scalawag, and The Shallow Ends. For more, visit xandriaphillips.com.