Two Poems by dezireé a brown

this poem is a movie

starring / Octavia Spencer and me both / we ride
down I-75 in a drop / top Jeep / she ain’t no mammy /

Nah / she a natural / siren / and I’m only / half girl
her lipstick / magenta / mine the color / of the moon

this a movie we // don’t die // in or escape
a plantation / in or watch someone else fall

in love / in / we both get the girl / we both the eye
candy / we both natural / sirens / and I’m only / half girl

/ Octavia ain’t worried / ‘bout the patriarchy
Nah / the music cues / she just take off / gold bars

in our backseat / yeah I said gold / bars / who
said we / wanted to be / some bankrupt / hero?


ode to olivia pope, the h.b.i.c.

first of all, yassss queen. can’t nobody
say you don’t look              like you burned                 a pyre

or two. like you our only                  president. this is a black
woman                 with the confidence of an                average white      man.

We always gotta hold                                    our breath. Wait
our turn. Lift somebody’s broke              son up to                                     our level.

Be like God           [the invisible version] – but you more like Goddess
[the run up a check version].         Remember                           when you bludgeoned

a man with bare                                   hands? Boss       shit. You decide fate
in a cape                                  and heels. Use men and trust                                     no one.

And these niggas                 BIG MAD.             Tell ‘em               fuck the white
hat. I do it              better than all                        you niggas.                                         Be selfish.

Be the villain. Tell Fitz you too busy                            for the sixth month straight.      Take your fists
and stiletto nails                                                    and turn them                 into wolves.


dezireé a. brown is a Black queer nonbinary Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, scholar, and sjw, born and raised in Flint, MI. They are the winner of the Betty Stuart Smith award from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where they are currently a Ph.D. candidate in the department of English. They were a Quarterfinalist in the 5th Annual Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship, often claiming to have been born with a poem written across their chest. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Berkeley Poetry Review, Hobart, ANMLY, Bayou Magazine, and the anthology A Garden of Black Joy, among others.