The Odyssey

— Justin Phillip Reed

              O Muse—
Boy is loam, is what is shoveled out of always.
Leaving himself he shoves his way into clean.

Boy becomes the telos in the throat of an abyss
that til the day a man dies he dives down.

              A Blasphemy
Man is a misnomer. Boy is a saccharine impasse
against which I dash my carriage daily at a run.

Man: the lash and mast. I hear my name forever is
Boy, but I was born Lil Man, adorned with a mane

of breakage tactics, an aureole of mandates such as
rival whom, conquer when, grieve where, This Do In

Remembrance of Me, all meant to overgrow my face
still pliable as unfired clay. Boy—a barbless noun

              a Penance
to signify the promise of hooks, a brief peace
preceding the snag, swerve, jerk, and swoon.

I gasp, emergent, and man up. I verb hardly, pose
beneath a knife stained clot-brown in its renown.

a man is a privacy of severances, a pulp of these
violet coagulates. I mean to elude my own

cynicism by sucking in breath. I mean that loss,
the commotion, limbs boys into torsos called men.

              O Death—
despite a man, a sigh. Days I wish boy dead. I moan
the seed inside this wound for which I am a dress.


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