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Trace DePass, performing “Notes on the Great Migration”.
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Transcript provided by YouTube (unedited)
family court up being a child
adopted by my grandmother born when my
mom was 16 I think shoes not which man
but which boy I might become
I remember migrating three and yet no
parents and then courts saying the boy
old enough to choose this time and
fourth grade visitation rights allowed
me my mother and she was a fly hood moms
yeah edges and I’m same dumb same gray
sweatpants while army but in classic
down the leg pant to prove it mom still
calls herself a bird this how she loves
herself I think I didn’t get the chance
to know her how nest no branches I’ll
tap her and custody papers fall like
bird feathers onto the floor here black
foster homes be broken trees and I
hatched from the system perpetuating
itself where in most poems don’t make it
out she came to me when I was five seven
a couple times like you know I’m you
know I’m your mother right
I say yes she must need to know I know
this how I love my mom’s I think I know
I inherited her flinch at those that say
though fly yet they’ll return when mom
can’t find a word to peck I tell her I
wasn’t able to mosaic which of a promise
my father left inside and shrapnel but I
want to and even after I’m a pile of
feathered bone dancing into dust I still
may not find enough but I dig and claw
away with wings like a God in the nest
gray stratus clouds escape under me as
mist or his mist which I bite hits you
grit through with his Thunder his
absence empty like thunder into my nest
like wow this is a cage I bit into this
one to be enough for you how my bird
beak mistakes a bird cage for stubborn
twigs was it DNA that struck like a
storm and let blood somersaults across
my body this whole time is that why I
unmade because since birth I’ve been
thrown in this cage wherein nothing in
like a parent’s love I’ll do my father
think I was a Phoenix are these his
ashes he forgotten me I am i burning in
a sack lock
I only know five answers for certain one
I am NOT my father’s Phoenix to home
must be wherever we kiss to keep warmth
in and shut smoke out three neglected
and abandoned all fires I can only be
man made for Vaseline
I think protects the skin from crisp
because some boys wings off to burn
brighter and better than birds five is
lightning I don’t know if this what he
left me or why he left her but if my
father’s answer for why he gone ever
This post was previously published on YouTube.
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