Kamela

The Libertarian asks me
what do I think of Kamela

and what she said in the debate
about Biden 

I do not believe you 
are a racist, she said

before taking him apart
for cozying up with segregationists

I say 
I am behind the criticism of his policies—
 
how can I support Biden
he interjects, if he's a racist?

I've been down this road before
with the guy energized by the discovery

that people on the left vote
for racists

as if that makes me and him
the same

there are moments in history, she said 
when states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people

I forget to pivot
to the story of the racism we share

I return to local candidates 
running on conviction and compassion 

but he prefers to crow over
my hypocrisy 

for a few minutes, sitting with him on his porch,
I am lost

it feels like I am arguing with a man 
who want to fuck the people who bother him

I take him in, bearded 
motorcycle lover with a good belly

living in a comfortable suburban home
in an all-but-gated community

an answer to a question that was lingering
in my head

Kamela
and that little girl was me. 



working class voter

I don't know about politics. Are we Democrats?

                                 Yes! says her brother, from inside the house, loud.

He can't vote, she explains, with his felony convictions.

This is the best yard, I say. 

The parking lot in front of her building licks the desert foothills. It will be so beautiful in the winter. Today it is hot and brown.

Her sons play around us. A football arcs over her head. 

I don't know what a Democrat is, she says. Whoever is on the side of poor people has my vote!

I say the choice is clear, and it is. But no one running for anything in this race looks like her — 

They do not have her smile, her shape or her style. Silky curls, thick energy. 

 She's wearing a deep yellow t-shirt with black letters:

QUEEN.


dry heat

weatherbeaten house 
perched 
on a mound of rock and dirt
curtains pulled tight
against the sun 
Chrysler 
gathering dust
shirtless 
with a belly full of rage
he moves his body
into the light
gives me an earful
about taxes 
he's never earned enough 
to pay

arizona

she is the one I am looking for
but he opens the door
 
I see her behind him
a long arm’s length
 
a smile on her lips
I ask the question
 
and it’s a trigger
 
he hates them all
dems and libs
 
riots in Seattle
child molesters
 
hunter biden
china china china
 
molotov cocktail
 
she slips into shadow
before I learn

which way
she leans
 

cough

a storm comes for the body
puts that taste of metal
in the mouth
 
shivers, twitchy muscle
the self dissolves 
into a fog

which is a kind of grace
 
but then it congeals into solid form
and wraps its grip
around the throat

do not be afraid

hormone crisis, hardwired terror
empties the bowels