Reporting From a Backyard in Oakland

when the barometer of civility intensifies

in the city of babylon

i pledge allegiance to my whistling kettle

steeped invitation for a reckoning

hovering over bare feet planted in wise silence


a poet asked if the sky is always this blue


when a person says insurrection all I can hear

is a fire bending flame

kissing shelled flowers

i do not mistake ash for seeds


i have yet to wake up american

rather cryptographer of white noise

freedom as flesh-caked combat boots

voting as euphemism for liberal placation

the golden rule as doublespeak

for moving the goalpost of patriotism


a writer asked if we be pessimist what will that bring


when the barometer of civility intensifies

in the city of babylon

i pledge allegiance to abolition

no more defiant appendages seeking refuge in amendments

pressing on calloused feet longing for saccharine vert


in the meantime

i mind my Black ass business

sit on this tree stump

body rank and file to the sun

for this is not my problem to fix



MILISA COLEMAN is a gender non-conforming writer, visual storyteller, and Cleveland native based in Oakland, CA. Their work illustrates overlapping themes in nature, the human condition, and transcendence; contributing to the genre of ecopoetry by Black authors. They were a 2020 recipient of the Black Writers Matter Scholarship through The Writing Salon. They participated in the Spring 2019 cohort of Twelve Literary Arts’ Baldwin House Urban Writing Residency. Their work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, The Tiger Moth Review, and Root Work Journal. They hold a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media from Cleveland State University.



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