Two poems by Malcolm Tariq

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

Post Blackness

In a poem that should be entitled Post-Renisha McBride,

            I have a dream in which I rescue my cousin’s bag

from a white man thief. This is Post-Troy Davis

            and I have a dream that we are on the playground,

my friends and I on the monkey bars, perched

            on some jungle gym shit when the white man thief

enters stage with the mob. By this time, we been

            after Latisha Harlins but I have to get

what’s Trayvon Martin coming to me because I can’t

            run, my black friend reminds me that

I have to get what’s Trayvon Martin coming to me.

            I have a dream and wake up in a Post-James Byrd, Jr.

error, here in this poem where I come before Emmitt Till

            because, fuck it, I know that this dream ain’t

(What ain’t!) my own my own my own.


Today you say that all lives matter. I consider my own

            black that makes blood run while you dream. Ain’t it

funny how I am not one thing until I’m it, till

            you wish to enjoy the smallness of the bird

that is my body, coming as hunter? Come to me,

            you say with a wet mouth, trying to remind me that

black on black crime is the first issue. This I can’t

             accept, nor your excuse that we have to get

to the issue of massacres in Africa, as if we been

             so kind to black birds here. You, All American thief,

miss the point but never my open orifice perched

             before you. You want to run free on the playground

with a bird you forget is caged like Troy Davis.

             This you refuse to put into the fantasy bag:

sex with me is also to touch a name like Renisha McBride.


Principle Pleasure

Everybody wants my body
            but me.
I hung head before the mirror, wished
more weight filled the thin thighs, that
the clavicle was covered by more flesh.
Wished by high school that I’d grow less
awkward with straighter teeth and
broader shoulders. Maybe I’d grow
into a bigger fullness of body
            everybody wants
that bends on demand. But I sat on sidelines
while others chose, not wanting the rush
of the hook, the disdain of a look lusting
for the arch of my back, the snatch
of my hair. I refused becoming erased.
But sometimes I be trippin like that
            body everybody wants
that is desired by everybody everywhere.
Everybody wants my body
            but white people
choose not to see it. Always fucking
invisible until suddenly asking for help
as if my black ass works in the white people
clothing store. No, I don’t have that size,
but I can surely find it in a fuck you. Everyone
wants and wants and wants my body
            like white men
who don’t get it. Everybody wants my body
            but black men
who say they are usually into white guys—
gingers, red heads, twink hairless little
shits who worship their black cocks
and the ones that kill them. But,
you know sometimes I be trippin.
Everybody wants my body,
            like the state
who claims to own it. Who wants to hang
me by my hair, push me on my back.
Who use it as a practice target for other
black bodies. Everybody wants my body
            but the respectable ones
who want to tell me know to dress it
and walk and talk about it
in the front room and secretly want to
take me in the back room. Everybody
wants to not want this body
            and no one
knows how to treat it. So I sleep naked
these days, if only so the limbs feel free
to move on their own accord for once
beneath soft sheets they desire and deserve.
If only to wake up and taste every delicious
seam and stretch and opening it allows
            me. I
get this body that everybody wants
            like white men
I can’t think about fucking right now because
we can’t waste black energy on trial
and error that way. Because a black world
is a terrible thing to waste. Because
a black world cannot be recycled. At least
today. Everybody wants my body
            but no one
knows how to touch it, so I do this
at every chance now because pleasure
should be principle to a body told
for so long go here and do this and think
how I say stand now you sit you know
you don’t belong here. Everybody
wants this black ass
                  black body they can’t handle
              like fuck boys who can’t fuck
this beauty of a black mind. That’s too radical
somehow so now I practice revolution
when I fuck myself. I feel crevice of everything
smooth and not. Weighty and thin. Plump
and precious wonder to my own reflection
that I see wide-eyed now. I take
the softness of my hard body into my own
hands and have my way. Through this
dangerous orifice I invite myself into my own
haven of safety and comfort and sweetness.
I say enter, thinking about myself
looking at myself. I come.

Photo of Malcolm Tariq

Photo of Malcolm Tariq

Malcolm Tariq is a Cave Canem fellow from Savannah, Georgia. A graduate of Emory University, he is currently a PhD candidate in English at the University of Michigan. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Red Truck Review, CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art and Action, Vinyl, Nepantla, Winter Tangerine and Tinderbox. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia [where he stay black].