Jayy Dodd: For Drought & The End of the World

Jayy Dodd: For Drought & The End of the World
Mathew Macquarrie

Mathew Macquarrie


For Drought & The End of the World


I remember how summer storms

are still a natural occurrence.


Again, sun breaks the afternoon cover.

Again, light thunders the air thick.


So, when this terrain is a known-desert,

this drought is not all the lungs can muster.


Thirst is this kind of devastation,

a cracked earth, dust blistering:


an endless land lingers to the shore.

Every Pacific Ocean birth gawks at the fault-line,


the dwindling flowers in the valley.    

Stakes grounded set wildfires of the dead—


because every kind of hysteria smokes beyond the hills

& every kind of anxiety hangs over the palm trees.


What if it was too late to replenish the beaches?

Would the jagged rocks already be in the sea by then?


All the gold swallowed back into the pan.

All the islands submerge as mountaintops.


The remnant cliffs would finally exhale,

swallowing them-selves no longer.


Again vultures, instead of the ghosts

burrowed in the foothills & barren rivers


            & atmospheric pressure

kept by imminent quake & deluge.


a-coming of age:



xi.                    my father tried to tell me manhood

            was the evidence in my middle school underwear,

            but i knew of yahoo video.

i knew what safe search meant. i knew i would never find

            illicit temptations in any closets close to me.

i knew that boyhood busts

            into effluvia of shame & relief. 

i knew arousal as four-letter word.

i knew what listening for footsteps meant closing

             each window to what i hypothesized as myself.


i saw breasts before i was ever told they were bad things.

i remember the starburst graphic over 2am co-ed nipple

            telling me of the going wildness of girls.

i wanted my chest to excite censorship. i wanted to be

            parentally warned against. 

i thought being a man was a science

            but learned my dick is so much like Schrödinger cat,

            only appearing when you stare it directly in the eye.

you can’t tell me i’m not here, she purrs.


i have never trusted that which grows between me.

i have resisted holding my faith in such a fickle extremity.



xviii.                 i’d have to cast niggas in white face

to play my high school friends.


i’d allow the white mothers

to play themselves, again,

the ineffectual saviors of guilt

& soccer practices.


their fathers

would all be played by me,

touching myself

in the suit worth more

than my last three meals.


i wanted to be a JD Salinger,

more than Holden Caufield.

& i hated wanting to Blackface-

white anxieties. it was all i knew,

the only frustration seemed fragility.


everyone around me is in on the joke:

me trying to pass as more than

fiction beside them.


i was held in constant disbelief.

the unconventional intermission

where the cast comes in the audience

in character & plays along.

that’s the humor here,

i know you know

i’m playing apart.

            or i want to believe it,

i want to believe

you know this production is for you.



xiv.                   i’ve only been called a faggot to my face once.

            & i knew him well.

in a car driving by me in our suburban downtown.

he was just trying to surprise me. or remind me

i was outside & alive & never suppose to feel safe.

i remember laughing it off, instinctually.

i must have looked so comfortable before.

unassuming. like I could forget the threat of being

called               out.


however: this other time

            i was called a faggot kindly,

without the actual word

escaping across the room.


it was the first day of high school,

in my suburban high school,

a small theater gathering of students

waiting to learn more about the Drama

department & before the meeting starts

among 100 eager eyes,

this chick across the room:

            yo, cutie with the dreads, like girls?

& i have to smile & say yes, instinctually.

i had to laugh off my faggotry,

among the audible groans of pale thirst,

& beastial frustration.


I Know I Been Changed

            After Lashun Pace (Rhodes) 


no longer can you call me a beast of this earth

this tender flesh is not satisfied by the harvest

in my mouth — now abundant — is milk & honey

i’ve crossed barren waste for holier land

because i am an angel now

the blood of my body made snow-white robe,

an all gilded miracle, my new language is flight

at my shoulder blades an expanding

without ache — wide as freedom

this body prophesied transfiguration

called itself: divine, called the streets: alabaster

called baptism: the afternoon


i ain’t what it used to be, made new

made sacrament & fear

no longer confined to sensations or consequence

no longer concerned about the failings of mortality

            i know i been changed & you can’t tell me no better

you will call me out my self, blasphemous

but i have heard on high my body is harmonic gospel

it was written in sacred memory before coming into being

now, i am here ready for rapture, cause

            the angels in Heaven done signed my name

            i said, the angels in Heaven done signed my name

jayy dodd is a blxk question mark from los angeles, california– now based on the internet. they are a professional writer & literary editor. their work has appeared / will appear in Lambda Literary, The Establishment, Assaracus, Winter Tangerine, Dreginald, & Guernica among others. they’re the author of [sugar in the tank] on Pizza Pi Press. their debut collection Mannish Tongues will be be released in 2017 on Platypus Press. they are a 2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee. find them talking trash or taking a selfie.