Transmitter Signals From A Young Brown Feminist” and “Keeper of Blades” – Michigan Quarterly Review

Transmitter Signals From A Young Brown Feminist” and “Keeper of Blades”


dear queer choreography moro folkloric dance moves     to madonna’s like a virgin & 

   gay immigrant child raised in the 90’s not to be mistaken for digital natives who obsess over throwbacks prince of bel air & metallic balloon pants        

                                        turned jungle asia monstera print

when gasoline was under a dollar   minimum wage $3.75 when dhs once split to form a three-headed beast dear competition of high femme-ness 

wooden abanicos like knives            pair of jaunty sunbursts             stilettos not on the cover

of the zaragozian but instead veiled in funerary sunday chic 

     dear limbs of my women                 so much drama de-centering           comeuppance                      dear archipelago swag           techno versions                         

              of diasporic appliqué             didn’t claim citizenship until 25             

after years of teenage nerddom            wet n’ wild lips   teased bangs at junior high 

     skating rinks talent for slash carnival show                 then puberty came like 

bobby brown’s no prerogative         dear festival of another virgin           in black biker shorts

          raptorial nails & slumber parties           ferris wheel lit over a soccer field         

dear coarse summer grasses               church basketball courts & radio hits on police brutality     dear you who question           who could live as a boy       

      as america’s brown pop stars              in fake leather  

art deco neck chains spell out       your first girlfriend’s nickname         

      mohawk black hair           skin of cassia eyes like pizecua               dear self 

who ran far away     who could not be father’s son           father’s right mind

                            even with a penciled zorro stache           rolled cameo sleeves

wing tipped         taxi dancehall shoes   liberated sluts laugh        

    clasping your uncle’s arm like doves creeping           false holy dear providence   under pressure             culture vultures     

         belly bulging with trapped love              ancestral grief                

saints of transmission              kilig kweens to believe in         painted bisayan princes poet haranistas unusual & rare  writing into  existence                                  

                                                                                                   pantheon of goddexxex


she transforms into a keeper of blades, herald of salt and bread stacked like sagada’s hanging sepulchers.

          egg-shaped heirloom of black pearls, pollen from calla lilies pock the mantle. her handsome head turns thorny, shattering her family’s fine plates on a polished floor:  

pins marks on a pomelo tree, silver brocade of a visayan leopard holds an anger that hates moderation.

she wants something she’s told she shouldn’t have. her husband does not articulate this but shows how his kind of freedom was not designed for her. so she keeps naming what intercepts between her window and the noise in her head: 

rainbow eucalyptus, 

brandy, casava, 

jade earring, a servant, 

a nurse, a teacher, 

anna and the king of siam, 


she smashes everything until fractures blur—       to be of the ruling-ruling class 

To read the rest, you can purchase the Spring 2023 SomaFlights special issue here.

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