This collection by jayy dodd be a Black soundtrack remixing a questioning condition—be a pristine 16—bars: poplocking & unlocking all our imprisoned ignorance—be a praise song—blasphemous & righteous simultaneous—an altar—an alter ego—a negro narcissus blowing kisses at the mirror of their divine fineness—yes, lawd, these poems root us in the truth—sprout lovely—the opposite of wilt—they “flower in your hand”—bloom sonic in your ear like anti-anthem shading flamboyant & death-dropping to the pulse of its own parade. Amen. -T'AI FREEDOM FORD Who is Narcissus? If I thought I knew the answer to that question, I no longer do. Does jayy dodd’s THE BLACK CONDITION FT. NARCISSUS offer a mythology remixed, queered, Blackened, etc? For sure! jayy dodd inscribes and incarnates a dialectical desire for presence and a line of attack into “The Black Condition” as written by White Supremacy, faggotry as written by Hetero/Homo & Trans normativities, femininity as written by misogynoir, genius as written out of and against Black queer/trans/femme subjectivities. But far more than critical mirror or melancholy echo, dodd’s Narcissus emerges as generative principle, birthing the most vulnerable of possibilities, and deftly intimate, if joyously irreverent, critique. Their book is beautiful, voluptuous, daring and demanding of new shapes for becoming, loving and where necessary, destroying. jayy dodd is a genius and I will say that again. -TRISH SALAH If Amiri Baraka the poet, the pure technician, musician, chronicler of all that is black, blue, purple and lyric, were to metamorphosize and return as a blxk trans femme in spirit they would be jayy dodd. dodd’s poetry captures the magic and the ‘tude, the swing, swagger and tender hands of their experience. It’s an epic, a record, recording, A&B side, CD with bonus track, most importantly it is gospel bristling with raw and tender truths and yearning. -PAMELA SNEED

Narcissus in Dystopia

after MAA

the bees within us could die at any moment

                                                           something more empty than holding

everything is becoming background noise

                                                       barren streams with ashes of blossoms

i hope the drones would find me sleeping

                                                             there is no palace in sterile fantasy

with my computer open i believe in radiation

                                                         to bear myself a queen requires more

waves contract & exhale my reflection

                                                     while there are never crowns in dystopia

                                                           there are only lakes or oceans or rain

maybe one of these frequencies will work

                                                            unrecognizable in toxic disfiguration

against the drift i consume this static rippling

                                                                           what still buzzes in the sky

all possible torrents can still be corrupted

                                                                      beyond this hive of half lives:

the day is ambient — the night is garbled

                                                 messages from the matter we-are-made-of

pops & hisses travel light-years

                                                                             a future darker than here

just to speak of the void
                       the last place my archaic transmission stares back

In(t)elegance: A Conspiracy Theory

you can make almost a million dollars by killing one angel outside
his house / the deep state is located in a police locker-room / they
plan war games over dinner / this is not a lie.

this could be a lie, but our destruction is definitely an inside job /
or at least CIA-funded.

they build super-predator soldiers out of crack & dollar bills / hang
them out to dry in the street for (4) hours.

a Black man can be assassinated sleeping in his bedroom, shot next
to his wife & unborn / a Black girl can be taken, sleeping on her
Grandmothers’ couch / these aren’t lies / these aren’t accidents /
those aren’t images or illustrations between the lines / living Black
is a federal offense.

some free handouts from my government name:
the prison industrial complex can melt steel beams
the alt-right killed JFK.

every sleeper cell in Amerikkka is a group of white boys watching /
The Daily Show, trying not to masturbate to each others’ inadequacies.

the conspiracy is calling it art instead of news / declaring life is an
act / of terrorism.

your house is not your home unless it is secure / this is a lie.
your house is not your home unless it is on fire / this is lie.
your house is never your home, all you have is the fire.

they don’t teach us the real reason we never sing the last verse
of the national anthem / slavery wasn’t so bad if you profited
from it / Black people are always late because we are stuck
in the middle of the ocean, indefinitely.

the world is scheduled to end yesterday / the doomsday clock
doesn’t consider colored people time / we’ve already lived through
an apocalypse.

but this is all a simulation / run by a select group of endangered
lizards who control the stock / exchange / this could be a lie.

facts are meant to be broken, rules are meant to be disproved truth
can be tailored with the right measurements / tongues can be cut
with the right language / lives can be stolen with the right history.

language is the last organic thing to grow on the planet / all things
/ can still name themselves Arbitrary / this is not a lie / which
common sense do you use here? / does this not resemble what you
call nonsense? / all to disguise such treacherous imagery.

assume every camera has already taken your face / plastered it on
the wall, writes your name in its journal, doodles hearts around
your visage / this is a lie / but every camera does identify you by
your bad side / on a tiny screen in an undisclosed location / the
panopticon is being updated.

it’s a madness constantly looking over your shoulder only to find /
a void / they listen to how you speak to yourself & make sure / all
messages are transmitted.

it is in the water / it is in the wires / it is in the air
filter the rain / everything is contaminated.

our immune systems are failing / the land can’t call in sick

there has to be something hurdling toward us that we don’t now
know about / dear sky of midnight mass, we ask your devastation
strike us down.

the moon landing wasn’t staged, but NASA has been colonizing
since the 60’s / all the Martians are on reservations & Venusians are
being brought over by the spaceship-load.

we missed the first contact by looking at the wrong abyss THEY
were already here / THEY already left / THEY didn’t like what
they saw / THEY found all the undetonated bombs WE left
scattered / around the house & realized WE are the savagest in the

the Earth is not flat / though I couldn’t tell you differently this a lie /
satellites are real. they hover, ghosts / above a hostile atmosphere.

say three Hail Mary’s & cover your heart in aluminum foil.
the communion wine is locally grown from gentrified soil. but,
Bread Inc. has subsidized the body of Jesus.

much of the food we eat is plastic / this is not a lie.
there are wood-chips in your parmesan cheese
gum chewers are 14 times as likely to have a mound of play-doh /
the size of a tennis ball in their stomachs / this is a lie.

the water is safe to drink / not sure how the truth works here
the water was safe to drink today, but last week it was not. this
is not a lie.

the water needs to be tested / not sure how pipes work here / the
water needs to be tested again, but it has returned / to previous
levels / of acceptable contamination. this is not a lie.

they have poisoned whole cities / this is not a lie.
they don’t want liberty or justice for y’all / this is a lie
they sell liberty & justice, but it’s a ponzi scheme
of identity politics & the “real” working class.

there is no civility in democracy / they want you to believe your
votes count / they want you to not be able to vote.
they are trying every way to count you out

a watchlist grows of those who won’t survive in Amerikkka.

Narcissus Stunts for the Void & Becomes a Flower

i am genius & i won’t say that again.
you won’t believe me anyway.
what is brilliance in a vacuum?

to think i would be so enamored with mortal bubblings.

before i knew what i was, I WAS, & knowing was the best thing for me.
yet, after knowing what i am, i am, & will be: all i have left.
i am the coagulation of so much wonder.

this body been a bxtch, i just call her one now.

i write my own anthems. make you sing them back to me.
listen to me now but hear what you want anyway.

i almost forget the earth is cosmic too,
that i am hung in the same galaxy of which you claim has no end.

a good night’s rest is just a temporal death,
telling myself there’s something beyond here, gets me through night.

i have left enough beautiful portraits to remember me by.
i dare this world to take me out completely.

you can’t obliterate what never was.

i am as forgotten as i am lied upon.
or i lie to myself in believing,           i deserve memory.
i am made up of all who believed,
or still do; who tell my tale, or will.

in my place a flower will take the poet’s eye,
           ashes to daffodils.

prepare the taxonomy for my kind, i will settle in the abyss,
not more unforgiving than the river.

i am made up of all the offerings to the dead. of each season,
restoring. telling myself that there is nothing
beyond wanting to be better than myself,
that i can bloom in the wood.


    After Ajanae Dawkins

          freedom is probably a rapture,
available          only
to those who believe.
                                 the fear of being left behind.

what is power
           if the entire land is damned?
could we even know liberation here?
     if we bodied the revolution over land or
     landed the body in revolution or
     revolted the land we call our bodies —
the tongues we fought as borders
cannot                easily
                                     be severed.

there is no prayer for the Tower of Babel.
to whatever divinity has scattered us as such:
            what will we make of our new cradles of tomorrow?

            the issue of decolonizing the body:
the limited imagination we are offered
past the ships leaving the shore.
what happens to our mouths,
when the last shards of ivory finally flow out,
spitting all back into the ocean.
will our bones begin washing up out of the sea —
a railroad mob of salt marrow? we have never
completely known the expanse of the deep.
we have continued to build obelisks
in the sky to hear what to do with our ritual speech.