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Mimi Tempestt: California Poets Part 7, Two Poems

Mimi Tempest

July 1st, 2024

California Poets: Part VII

Mimi Tempestt

Two Poems

when there’s no one left to love, love on me 



dear nobody,


fever stiffens to be sudden like the way lovers are dispelled. i disassociate from my body to be a general to my thoughts. these war-like mosaic tapestries know more about me than what you will experience. a ghost of a drag queen dying on the floor. blood rings risen. an apparition’s performance of a performance. a holographic soul displayed in-real-time. if real time is what we actually have. i protect my uglier truths from my judgments. leave the omissions that are most obvious like table-meat fat. an omniscient perspective is for the fools who rush to play god. i am much bigger in comparison. driven by the crows sitting at my window. the pursuit of power is the first thought that comes to mind before we put on our faces. a brewing hurricane swallowing itself whole like a snake adventuring towards its own tail. help me select the ways i will win today. press play on my life & rewind through every standing ovation. help me christen this plastic joy as my daily reminder. pressure my essence. get me to pretend to be good. help me be reverent enough to this pen to become a master. it’s comical. all the sadness that sits in me. the only difference between you & me is the colors of our straightjackets. i’ve yet to discover the ways this isolation will take pity on my heart. forecast a net of a thousand inclinations to scream the same poem. i refuse to die kindly over here. or beg for sanctity. i have no love for jesus. i reserve that obsession for myself. here. have these problems. i dare you to hold me.  i dare you to love me the way i ask you to. i dare you to revere my world. let’s get this wrong. i’m trying to find the fiercest frequency of my voice today. i study them as they aim for my throat again. adversity always comes wrapped in a smile. i’ll fight every nigga in this mind. they think i’m shooting for glory. the only heart i’m trying to win over is my own. i sit in the front row & nosebleeds of my audience. if your ears possess the insight to see this clearly then sure you can be in on the joke too. i’ve been called to say this shit. they don’t have the kill to say it themselves. stutter autonomy through a locked-jaw. have the bravery to stutter it again. over & over & over to an eager body of wasteland protégées trying to be somebody. nobody, i am nothing at all. during the all. all at once. peeling back the layers of skin to erase the concept of a lived-life. i find a mood so solid that it trembles at the mercy of a phoenix preparing for flight. the theology of me creates this scripture. a violent peace of a Black woman worshiping herself. the gull. the cunt. the reality blessed to fruition. i’ll have it all & let them drown in the deceit of proximity. my assignment of purity gradually erodes. i’ll raise hell. simply. if i can’t have it my way.






i’ve been an addict much longer than i’ve been myself       


mama i always thought i was meant for a music man i really had the audacity to become one myself with a silk voice & jazz hands banana walkin to punk bands here to stay til’ the last dance this is the blue’s last chance to groan obscene i gave a soliloquy to the angels of this city & received their borrowed praises tomorrow i won’t remember their grey wrote a new song to make the same mistakes i bounce to the rhythms & ride every cadence this high born of boredom is the best east la could offer i like one night stands boys looking for their fathers inside my walls boys dressed like men to avoid the pitfalls of this city that leaves them behind cages or lulled into sleep biting the top half of a rationed dream & street art smeared blood stains crying “save us all” i hollered godspeed to the little nigga who woke up & decided that the reaper wasn’t going to accompany him on his walk today i make wonders out of stones & echo parks i drink wine until the bottle is empty my tongue flickering at the satisfaction of the last drop i hollow out i go back & forth with filthy strangers to make them envy the vibrancy of my mind filled like rainbows & wind growing like grape vines i’m so 21st century & i live for the people i battle rap & runway walk to help pump my ego i take trips to warehouses & disco like it’s a crime kissing girls in dark alleyways & learning the secret to sex that men cannot find i make inappropriate comments in public i adore the old people they know the secret to life i can’t even fathom & i know every movie sequel i argued with friends in the bathroom over the last bump of cocaine spitting plato & derrida through philosophical coke rushes & then chastised the white man’s prophecy them muthafuckas owe me money again we hugged it out while screaming that our dependency was sane & it was & it is at the time i can’t remember all the times i try my best refuse to find a night that didn’t end in dramatic solace i’d do it all again to replay the relationships that never would mend the love lost i could never solve it nostalgia is my worst enemy my biggest fault is  remembering the good times & how bad they were the moments of sweet songs that whistled at alvarado house & city lights like stars that twinkle & shine my love for this fake is like the sign that watches down on the whole damn race for women & men whose faces fill a million flat screens my love for this city is as real as the actor memorizing their upcoming line for the next scene the expression on their faces sadness madness wrinkles on a widow’s peaks the heyoka repeats the scene to repeat itself again mulholland drive is my favorite snake running through this town i’m running faster not to be late with my never-ending date with the devil thats the only nigga who fucks me right &&&& mama we are meant to use things to enjoy god i had another conversation with my shadow yesterday he said i’m without a plot i said i’m the grandest chaotic symphony his ass will ever experience & a work of art should be regarded into an end of itself mama he told me nigga you trippin mama imma get it right one day they’ll see as soon as i figure out what’s worth more price or dignity he says genius as a backhand for inexperience i like to believe i invent my own rules for understanding me this isn’t arrogance mama i swear your purse wasn’t here when i walked in mama i swear my mind is a chess piece mama the itch won’t go away today mama i’m constantly the guest in their house mama i have no urgency to the truth mama i’m hiding the interpreter again mama your assumption is that being in the audience of my disaster allows your mask to drop i’m a ghetto caricature of sunset boulevard this is the function of stereotypes i have no culture all i have is vision this is a consistency towards godhood diving head first to the me i pretend to be i was standing on top of the mountains eons ago i just be waiting for the preachers to catch up i guess i got tired of walking through these streets with empty pockets i’m not tap dancing for the sake of this art form the only heart i’m trying win over is my own there’s a pot full of untamed women brewing in my blood i was cooked as their perfect ingredient to raise chaos in the lull abiding to this version of patriarchy watch me run circles around every man’s universe the itch won’t go away today mama yesterday’s price is not today’s price mama i’m not going to die today mama i’m know i’m Black mama Black as is in watch all the ways i can die today mama how dare you tell a nigga she can’t fly today mama i don’t have to forgive you mama i’m not new anymore mama i’ve made mistakes & i have the scars on my body as proof they show me all the faces of my pain daring me to become a prophet when won’t struggle be my purpose anymore purple dreams ensue like pigs snorting at the witching hour somewhere someone is getting fingered the acid drips into the amygdala eyes diverted only to the house beauties i caught his glance he wouldn’t me let go i fucked him in the back seat of my car his cum was mixed with sweet heat & fertilizer i’m incubating his baby in the coldsweat of this winter waiting for the salt of my tears to allow it to sprout i don’t want your sympathy mama i just want to feel everything my giant heart wouldn’t allow itself to feel yesterday this isn’t real mama i can barely behave for you mama the itch won’t go away mama the itch is getting worse i know i was taught how to love myself mama loving is hard in a world who refuses to love me back the new song i wrote was about another girl that song wasn’t about me mama i don’t sing about me anymore mama i don’t suck dicks for deals them muthafuckas owe me money this isn’t a bloody nose i wanted him but i couldn’t keep him he was my lifeline my new mission is to paint my face mama how excellent it is to conjure skeletons for the sake of singing my ecstasy is all windows pearing through a minefield of power i croon amongst gods who destroy worlds for the sake of being heard there is no morality that creeps through my throat just an eagerness to dress for the stage & weep every player’s last words i came into to this world conditioned to lie best mama this heaven is going to kill me today there is no pity in these streets & even less empathy behind their white picket imaginations at least the streets have a spine to claim a code the new americans became the feds & the feds sat back & said take a look at this our job is done the hurricane called my mind fancies itself as undeniable this altered state is the only comfort i have to offer the hurricane called my mind decides how to empty itself the sidewalk sighed unfortunate when it found me with naked feet its sits on the axis of pleasure & desire but it whispered something about a fall from grace i spray painted a haiku on the corner of figueroa & 6th to remind my handlers they won’t get the luxury of my sadness i’m a fistful of gunfire the mathematics of my addiction is playing tricks on me mama i was never too good with numbers i owe them muthafuckas money again mama i’m still a gravesite away from being sanctified mama just promise me the day i leave this place will be the day you know peace promise me that mama promise me to move on mama promise to forgive me mama promise promise me promise me mama promise me promise me mama promise me  please  please  please


Author Bio:

Mimi Tempestt (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and daughter of California. She has a MA in Literature from Mills College, and is currently a doctoral candidate in the Creative/Critical PhD in Literature at UC Santa Cruz. Her first book, the monumental misrememberings, is published with Co-Conspirator Press//The Feminist Center for Creative Work (2020). She was selected for participation in the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices & writers in 2021. Her second book, The Delicacy of Embracing Spirals, is published with City Lights (2023). Her works can be found in Foglifter, Interim Poetics, The Brooklyn Rail, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.



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