CRUEL/CRUELPlaylist by Dior J. Stephens
𝘊𝘙𝘜𝘌𝘓/𝘊𝘙𝘜𝘌𝘓 is a collection of poems that seeks to radically deconstruct language in order to respond to the unimaginable cruelties of living under the muddied boot of white heteropatriarchy. In the collection, Black musical tradition, queerness and race coalesce to emphasize the archival and documentary as intrinsic to our personal and collective survivals. It was critical for me to craft this collection into a hybrid visual and literary object. The visual is integral in the deconstruction and queer renewal of the, at times, dizzying and mystifying language found on the page. 𝘊𝘙𝘜𝘌𝘓/𝘊𝘙𝘜𝘌𝘓 asks not that you understand it, but feel it-- wholly. Let it sing to you.
— Dior J. Stephens
two black ravens, one dog, one man, resting amongst topaz weeps for companionship.
i am not who i am who was i who i was when i was;
i am the dolphin in a mask in a mask in plain view
stare into screen long enough for frost to mold.
wait for truth to bubble at your mouth,
firm & taciturn.
a candle holding revolutionary hands; six clown cars with hornet’s nests up top.
beating kkwaenggwari, janggu;
the might of two swells smashing chalk on $82k/year
open your windows, loren.
why aren’t you home, loren?
what hillside view blasts decency out of frame,,
dreaming of being heard,
dreaming of being bit down on by loose ties,—
WE NEVER DREAMT THIS SUMMER,
lady june blows prideful as the people beat the street,
horns honk from dusk til dawn,
firecracker encores every
a summer of old jack and jasmine in the backyard,
undreamt,, unheard (of),
not talking much today simply painting with my breathstrokes, summer lounging with creatures with english names. tumble butterfly, zipline ladybug; are we one and the same? branded with names from languages we did not speak by tyrants who looked nothing like us.
not talking much today, simply watching [ ] play with proximity to the unknown. thinking about rainbow road years lost under men who looked nothing like us.
not talking much today, simply calling my own bluff, not running starry-jeweled-teary eyed to the corner store, not giving nobody who does not look like us any coin for my poison.
not talking much today, just asking the sun to still