Malcolm E. Kelly
In Charcoal Boys & Dreams of Fire, the intersection of blackness, gayness, identity and religion are explored and picked apart. The collection revolves around a speaker obsessed with authenticity in the face of dog whistle speech, fetishization mistaken for lust, and a god of love whose presence fosters hate. It juxtaposes nonfiction essays with verse and surreal prose poetry to highlight expression and emotion, embracing rage, coddling pettiness, and shunning apologies for the sake of identity.
You are a god of whispers and echoes,
lower pantheon at best.
Hollow eyes squinting and hunched form,
tacking curses onto the praises you mop across the floor.
You inhale the spice and smoke of my burnt offering,
while pissing over the flame.
Shine marble pillars with the spit of your sucked teeth
while you worship at the altars of my feet. Polish me,
I’m top tier. You string hails and adoration on mint floss
picked from the teeth of better men—and try to stuff my ears.
You convulse in tongues, cry with supple words
you saw etched on someone else’s mind, all while
lifting praises to me like reused balloons.
I am not too good to be true
simply too good for you.
Touch all this skin framed by my limp wrist.
Push your tongue through my stone lips
Tell me you love me before I forget you
You’ll never see me again.
Eternally, Me—your god of Audacity, Fem, Faggotry and Flow.