&, abandoned, ‘boy’ oscillated son
unmoved, erected, befuddled, he stood, a candle alone, outside of love & time, striking darks which stood up, wicked, all night. his wick unlit until each moon placed light. his dark a smoke made up of wax, martyr, mortar. his Mary a mosaic who mothers the wind, alone, already, unready caught in teeth her long night’s. & if a makeshift altar on which its wax stand be plated in rose gold or rusted silver, ‘he’ itself still held no value. the anthropomorphized ‘he’ ‘he’ say ‘he’ be. say ‘he’ never felt a warm man. & never. not even after this elegy he says. never once. just displaced for all his seconds, second. blamed by his luck for his place in it; his light bedazzled bodies at the endless memorial. this cannot be life nor light nor should we name it love, he says, all this stark binary of quark & absence that decor the present day - nevermind this vast vast and undying vast. just grant me, voyeur gods drunk of free will, the winning torch, crown me for a few seconds with its powerful smoke, i need its black heir in me reigned by the quantum leaps in me, the freedom of unknowing if whoever i be will be, at least some parts, conserved by a law for once, yes, ‘he’ aflame until renamed; prettied founding new claim, braving shame, all the gust of its rapture now braves him; now twenty sheer autumns of hunger for the living body ‘he’ be - might, just now, be coronated to free incarnate remarkable, split, scissored of mother to beauty, anew, inside the wax. flesh unburdened by vessel might coax not blood but, from it, lilacs named duality or dust to dust, or Crispus Attucks tucked beneath bullets berating inside Tamir Rice, unsheathing sheets of tiny pale flag until here now. debunked history embalmed each ‘boy’, each pronoun pronounced dead from some old made-god’s curious war. all for a forced-here answer. candles at the vigil, before the wake, cogitate whose is ‘he’ itself? & now that the Union has won the war & Crispus is no longer named property, ornament, a Christmas tree braving hell for two Winters, would “he” be becoming for its first time since creation? umpteenth & abandoned. ‘boy’, yes, would be becoming some stone but for once, more human posthumous, scorched deathless as a moth glory calls - in stone wherein, inside typos here, you misspelled rise. & wrote rest instead, in peace. lord knows why we spoke of peace inside singed bodies but now a mossy knoll with bodies in it knows better... you know what they should have chiseled instead? the fellow candle at the wake said, if you love them, if you’re proud of them, if you believe them, tell them, in a stone. tonight. before certain vigils, you know, visit.
Trace Howard DePass is the author of Self-portrait as the space between us (PANK Books 2018) and editor of Scholastic’s Best Teen Writing of 2017. He served as the 2016 Teen Poet Laureate for the Borough of Queens. His work has been featured on BET Next Level, Billboard, Blavity, NPR’s The Takeaway, and also resides in literary homes: Anomalous Press (fka Drunken Boat), Entropy Magazine, Split This Rock!, The Other Side of Violet, Best Teen Writing of 2015, & the East Coast Voices Anthology. As he navigates 2018, through perserverating language, Trace aims to blur the lines between the narrative arc and what is percussive.