Poetry Suite by TC Kody

Editor Sam Preminger, Poetry, December 17th, 2018

"i am sharpening everything i love"

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Poetry by TC Kody

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1912 South Orange Avenue, Orlando

As fucked up as it is, it’s a tourist attraction now,
my friend says and they’re right, I haven’t been back

to this neighborhood since quitting that barback job
last summer, been actively avoiding it, but we’re watching

a movie at their partner’s house on Muriel Street off Orange
and I couldn’t help but notice there’s a 5 Guys now,

a Chipotle, a whole new strip mall, they’re really gentrifying
aggressively around here, I say, forgetting for a second

until they reply, remind me what happened
here,
a grievous litany of names, and it all makes sense,

the sign’s cleaner than it ever was when the club was open,
the walls plastered with flowers and inspirational quotes,

they’ve held memorials on both anniversaries and
last year my straight co-worker got to be on TV, she was crying:

the whole city’s a Pride flag now but despite all the money to spend,
and maybe I’m being cynical, it was late after all

but when I drive by it’s lit up bright and there’s nobody dancing,
there’s nobody there at all.

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autocorrect suggests i tell you i got hone safe.

i am sharpening everything i love.

i wanted to keep a soft place inside,

a private kindness towards even the least
human of men, but

see what i let them do to me.

see how i even filed my breath to a point.

i am speaking so that my clenching hands
might yet not have to.

i am a razorwidth from hoping
my tongue cuts itself from my mouth.

my phone forgets how to say the word home.

i remind it with a clumsy hand.

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Orlando, Florida
, June 2016
lines taken from the poet’s facebook feed in that month

red wine and skinned knees as the stormclouds threaten past
and our dreams so small
got really drunk too much
this will not make their problems go away
my depression has mostly retreated into the folds of my brain from whence it came
fake smiles and a facade of the human spirit
I spend so much time failing I don’t even know what to do with success
I’d be like a bird with a nut too big for its beak…
so I turned my teeth inward and oh how they sharpened
too many of my poems start as facebook posts
no one is anything but under construction
last night there was a Q&A after my reading
most of the questions were just people asking if I wanted a hug
my front wheel squeaks like a brutally maimed parakeet
the smells of gasoline, pizza, the faint floral scent
from the bouquets across my handlebars
I’m getting tired of writing elegies
but these days it seems like that’s all there is to say
radiating from the tragedy
all our little disasters like cracks in a teacup
people walked dogs and did yoga around Lake Eola
I didn’t want to be living in Orlando
this is something vital that I need to improve
maybe this love we have found will last
are any of my friends dead?

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Dystopia: Dancefloor
-after Rumi

In the face of dystopia, dance.
If your body is dystopia, let your mind dance instead.
If your mind is wasteland, stillness is a rhythm.
Dance before police, before fascists, dance with the trees
and alone in your room. Dance before the guns.
If you have no trees nearby, dance with the skyscrapers.
If you have no room, you are dancing already.

If you have no police, fascists, or guns, give thanks
and then find those who do. They are not far away.
Place your movement between them and the terror
you were so recently a part of.

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tonight the moon is nowhere to be found

why is it
we
always
note
what the moon
is doing?

it can’t be
for each
other. we
only
have to
look
outside.

it’s as if
we have
a crush
who never
notices us
back.

I wonder
if anything
in the sky
has ever
written
poems
about
us, tiny

slivers of
reflected
light
to our
lonesome
darkened
planet.

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Header image courtesy of Nathaniel Evans. To view his Artist Feature, go here.

TC Kody lives in Orlando. Their work has been published in Dream Pop, Voicemail Poems, Button Poetry, Rising Phoenix Review, and many others. They have yelled and yawped all over the United States. A Best of the Net Nominee, TC won the first Poetry Slam Incorporated Online Slam and is the uneditor of Rejected Lit. Their work is online at tckody.com.

Author photo courtesy of Alexa Lemoine. 

 

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Sam Preminger

Sam Preminger is a Portland-based poet. Their work has appeared throughout various publications and they hold an MFA from Pacific University.