Poetry by contest winner t’ai freedom ford – The Feminist Wire

Poetry by contest winner t’ai freedom ford

some said you were the spitting image of evil

after Carrie Mae Weems


you became drum became washboard became

hum became tincan became numb became

cowbell became screendoor became dirtfloor

became skillet became clothesline became

dumb became plow became yardbird became

heifer and bitch became wagon became

hitch became bible became barbwire

became strum became headrag became drum

became biscuit became pitchfork became

hum became slopjar became shit became

northstar became pitstop became boxspring

became mule became numb became shotgun

became sunflower became battleaxe

became dumb became whisper became drum—



i sell the shadow to sustain the substance

after Glenn Ligon & Sojourner Truth


as black woman i am untitled—nameless

my heart   a faint glow of neon wire

buzzing toward some shameless demise

i stand against walls looking nonchalant

flashbulbs mistake me for celebrity

or    bored whore   same difference— as black woman

i am installation art as negress

my heart a black plastic bag ghosting streets

what parts of we ain’t for sale as woman?

black  skin shiny as gold teeth    worthless swag

is this body possible? or do i

merely exist as melancholy gesture—

self-portrait as shrug     eye roll     blank stare

sacrificing shadow        the body remains



root of all Eves(alternate take)

after Wangechi Mutu



there: herself and the square root of herself

incubating just below the surface

her trachea tree bark   dark      organic

her body: a panic of random hands

feet of motorcycles, tail of purple

feathers—a headdress of chaos and thorns

she teeters between celebrate and mourn

the left arm a trunk of flesh recently severed—

perhaps punishment for picking what felt

free and firm as a missing left breast

machete  is a motherfucker when

wielded by an angry god  or at least

that’s what the legend will have us believe

god or man   cleave or cleft   what is left?   Eve





t’ai freedom ford is a New York City high school English teacher, and 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Drunken BoatSinister Wisdom, No, Dear,  The African American Review, PLUCK!, Vinyl and others. t’ai lives and loves in Brooklyn, New York, but hangs out digitally at: