Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Tracie Morris


This is national poetry writing month. Yay! So, here is one poet I would like to dedicate this month to: Tracie Morris!

Last Friday, I went to Speaking the Blues: An Evening of Poetry at the Whitney Museum. The event featured Harryette Mullen, Cornelius Eady, Patrica Smith, Fred Moten and Tracie Morris and her band. While I enjoyed all the readings (especially Patricia Smith), Tracie Morris made a memorable end to the night with her poetry and musical performances. Her band included percussionist Val Jeanty, from The United States of Hoodoo, and guitarist Marvin Sewell. She did an afrofuturist performance called “Mahalia Theremin” in which she sang the song, “Joshua,” in the style of the sound of a theremin. Morris also did a few blues performances, including songs “Petro” and “Smokestack Lightning.” Her latest book is Rhyme Scheme, a collection of bluesy trickster poetry. You can listen to her works here and read some of her poems here. Her poem “Love in 2010” is below:

Love in 2010

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A gaze of the radius
Between the rays,
spectral bands play:
Features, faces

half-human
machinations — alienated.

Makeup grafted on faces
Second skin, bacteria
Encoded chameleon genes
Strategic fat shifters.

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Gotta Jennifer Janet ass
Last year: Hottentot made out of holographs.

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Thin but for injected lipids to form figures
In the midst.

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Culick! Culick!

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