Jabari Jawan Allen is a recipient of the 2018 Tin House Winter Workshop Scholarship and the 2018 Lucille Clifton Memorial Scholarship. He has also received support from Tin House, Community of Writers, the Voices of Our Nations Arts (VONA) Foundation, and Poets House. Allen’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Four Chambers, the Shade Journal, Vinyl Poetry & Prose, and elsewhere.
Two tree-limb-switched heretics born of Baptist parents, we reveled in a Ouija. But the only black spirits we conjured were our own shadows which flickered against the wall like a private screening. Both of us church boys sweltered in June pews, our bodies a new gospel.
Daddy was a slick devil, so he must have thought my sister his
succubus; a mud-bone Lilith, her lurid tresses struck shut with
igneous flicker when it happened in the black. His cinereous
peepers, glazed over moons which pierced through Tweety Bird
jammies. He tended to sissy’s unassuming sinew with his eyes first
so as to handle the unfathered clitoris with the only sort of care
His teeth are lilies bursting from asphalt—white, many petaled opulences;
amid danger, there is also beauty. When he whips me with the riding crop
of his tongue, I curl into the earth’s first question: To desire what exactly?
He has nothing
Keywords: g-house, booty house, juke, percolator, bang-bang-bang, skeet-skeet-skeet
In January 2005, three-year-old Ronnie Paris III slipped into a coma when he fell asleep on a neighbor’s couch while his parents, Ronnie Paris Jr. and Nysheerah Paris, studied Bible verses with friends from church. The thin and unconscious child was on life support for six days before he was taken off when medical professionals decided there was no hope.