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Two Poems by D'mani Thomas

Ekphrastic after "Sugar Shack" by Ernie Barnes or &... I hope you like me 'cause I'm nervous

I’m lbs of bastard son & twig thin here & all the women that raised me are once removed from the south & know how to move slick & dark like all things southern ‘spose to & I got knees that can wait in line at the dmv for you & legs that can do every dance twice & anyway, i’m dressed to the 9’s & everyone stares at me & i feel lonely, but then i see you & I’m here in eyeliner & silk & “why you here on uh work night?” & mind ya business & why don’t you let me burn what’s been eating me up all week cause i got no time to calcify & my legs ain’t gone be this needy forever & let tomorrow be tomorrow & let everything not here stay home & call me beautiful tonight & get nothing from it, but uh shimmy & uh lindy hop & twist

that’ll pop the top off a dill pickle jar in one shot & do you like this dress!? I bought it for me, but tonight I tell everyone I love I bought it for you & maybe I have a crush on you that’s work week long & maybe we should hang out in a place that’s whites only & let that be a metaphor

for something pretty & maybe we should hold hands like it means something & it doesn’t

It’s just my legs are jello and i need someone I trust for the walk home

[No title] w/ a line from Goyte & Sabrina Carpenter

On our first date,

My lover shakes out of focus. Everyone I love/ has a jaw so strong/ they can suck the wifi out uh router. My lover has an 8 bit connection/ and when they move too much they become a cat fish/ my lover, made 1,000 people cum last night/ my lover is pregnant in 15 states// broadband, ethernet, wired/ my lover is nasty/ like nasty nasty/ my lover calls piss: free sunny D/ my lover once said, “ i’m going to ride your face till i erode your beard hair”/ I ask my lover for time/ my lover asks me for $10.99/month/ touch is extra. $10.99 and I know my lover’s birthday/ after a year I might even meet their parents My lover calls me torso, My lover calls me user 597, and one time My lover called me cutie from Oakland/ I blush a week’s worth of tips every time/ i’m flattered/ till i realize/ that giving me a location means there are others everywhere/ cutie from San Diego heart eyes the latest post/ the latest post directed at cutie from Seattle

i’m a third wheel in my own home I think/ i’m so in love with being wanted/ that I don’t mind/ My lover

says things like , “ If you show me too much love it makes me leave”/ then poses sad like any broken heart

in the 90’s/ My lover reminds me of this one time I sent a bunch of nudes to people that didn’t deserve them/ I think I was trying to prove something/ That you can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness


D'MANI THOMAS is a queer, Black visual theorist, horror enthusiast, and writer from Oakland, California (Ohlone territory). D’mani has received fellowships from The Watering Hole, Foglifter literary journal, and Bakanal de Afrique via Afro Urban Society. His work has been published by The Auburn Avenue, The Ana, MARY: A Journal of New Writing, and his poem, “Survival Tactics” was recently shortlisted for the 2020 Penrose Poetry Prize. His current work obsesses over what it means to create intimacy under total surveillance.


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