Reprint-What is More Beautiful Than Beyonce?

This was originally printed in Roar magazine. I was solicited by Anna March to review There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker. Read about my experience with Anna March here. 

I will be writing a follow up to that soon. And about this review in particular.

 

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The short version of this review is- you should read this book. The work in There Are Things More Beautiful Than Beyonce is beautiful and immaculate, it is excellent work. Morgan Parker is an exciting and wonderful poet. Stick around for the long version.

I have a habit of yelling at things I like, especially writing I like. After the first poem, I put this book face down on my lap and started muttering to myself in public. Oh shit, first poem, okay, fine, just fucks me up fam. I had to take my time reading Morgan Parker’s beautiful collection because it felt private. I felt invaded and read to filth in the best kind of way.

I love poetry. Poetry for me is the highest kind of art. Poetry bleeds, it weeps, when it is good to me, it has a hard steady pulse and reaches inside me to rearrange things a little. Parker’s work in this book, is the type of art I dream about.

To say there are things more beautiful than Beyonce, is throwing a major gauntlet. Beyond the potential wrath of the Beyhive, what is more beautiful than Beyonce? What can be more beautiful than Beyonce? As I (or you) the reader enters into the little world of this book, we gon’ learn today.

I know my pussy is real good because they said so.

Poetry when it is good for me reaches in and starts grabbing. Words put together in ways that thrill me and pull me in tight to the work. Aesthetically, the way the poems are put together, I can hear breath in the spacing, silence where appropriate. The way Morgan has interwoven Blackness, beauty, sex, vice and desire gives her work a body, a pulse, a wet mouth, tears.  It is bodied and embodied. This is poetry that sees and loves my Black body and I am here for it.

Confuse the meanings

of castle and slum, exotic

and erotic.

When you get deeper into the book, settle into a comfortable rhythm, it’s easy to devour this book whole. I read it in a bus ride and read it again on my next bus ride. This isn’t overly fancy, poetryYou don’t need a stack of reference books and your lifeline on speed dial. This is accessible and but not easy. To be a Black poet who boldly and nakedly talks about Blackness, the beauty and the pain is by default not doing anything simple. Blackness is so varied and capturing nuance of being Black in America is no small thing.

We low hum of satisfaction. We is is is is is is is is

Touch, touch, shine, a little taste.

The level of skill it takes to use simple, easily understood imagery and keep the complexity and intricacy of the work intact and in this case, presented with dignified coolness is testament to both Morgan’s skill as a poet and the skill of the other people who worked on this book.  In terms of the things I as a reader crave, this book has it all.

I am hungry for myself.

As a reader, I am hungry for representation. I am in need of hearing a voice that could be my own, even if I can’t write poetry. Many of the poetry collections that are recommended to me, are absolutely lovely, but am not there. Being seen and heard, especially in the lit world is a rare thing that is more beautiful than Beyonce. Given the deleterious Whiteness of the poetry world, as a reader it can be difficult and hurtful to be invisible in the pages of poetry collections. To be seen and loved in the way this collection does, is wonderful.

What if I said I’m tired?

I am a writer and sometimes a poet. Real talk, I’m pissed off that I didn’t write this.  As an artist, one of the things I can freely admit to is a certain amount of peevishness when I read or see beautiful things that I did not create. I want to have birthed this beautiful, magical book. I want people like me, to read such a book and feel what I feel. Mind you, this is not a lasting peevishness. I’m not mad at Morgan Parker or Tin House, I just love it that much.

Do you think I could be a witch?

Can shine be caught like a fever?

Overall, Morgan Parker’s collection There are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce is more beautiful than Beyonce. The flesh and bone of this volume is thick as my thighs and solid. Morgan Parker’s voice is strong and sure and sad and gorgeous and drunk on wine and bodies and itself. I want to tell Morgan Parker, thank you. I want to hear her read these poems to me until I fall into the most satisfied of sleeps.  Read this book. Cherish it. Live with it in your heart.

Dear reader, I’m sure you noticed the bolded lines above. These are some of my favorite lines from this book. I didn’t attribute each poem because I’m kind of a weirdo and I want you to find them when you read this book. Because, you need to read this book.

~

And one last thing, I now have an official writer page over at Facebook. Come like it. Share it with your friends.

Updates, Stuff n thangs.

OH hey y’all.

I have SO MUCH NEWS Y’ALL.

If you’ve been rolling with me for a while you know sometimes I save up good news and then I throw it all at you like confetti. Get ready.

First up, Y’ALL Y’ALL Y’ALL!!! My baby is born!

Gasoline Heart my lil poetry book baby is available for pre-order. Looky here. She is so pretty and ugh fuck. Y’all.

ALl I could do when my publisher said it’s gone to print is respond as follows:

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH*gasp*AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Ahem. Holy shit. Holy shit HOLY SHIT.

If the FCC hasn’t burned the internet to the ground I am working up a virtual tour/readings and will let y’all know.

Ahem.

Next thing is, y’all I got one more publication for the year. It is a bucketlist item. I GOT PUBLISHED IN THE MOTHA FUCKIN WANDERER Y’ALL!!!!!!!!!!! See my poems here.

Y’all, most of my favorite poets are/have been in there. The poems published there were each rejected from a LOT of places, essentially thanks but no thanks rejections. Most of my poetry (in case you’ve ever wondered) has traditionally gotten that type of response from the pobiz. Thanks but no thanks, thanks but we don’t do confessional/personal/blabla. So this is huge for me. Especially with the baby on the way. I have an essay in the works about it but yeah huge deal.

What else?

My much rejected essay about some of my literary influences is up at Medium behind the paywall. Here’s a taste:

I did what I’d taught myself to do. I read every word JT wrote that I could get my hands on. I studied it, I read about it, I remember writing in a journal why I liked it, how I liked it. And then I wrote my very first personal essay. It was, of course a hot mess, scrawled in a red glitter Wizard of Oz diary. It was a gory blow by blow about a terrible relationship-ish situation I’d found myself in.

I wrote it with gusto and terror. I wrote about how, as terrible as being abused was, I was happy to be wanted sometimes. My language was simplistic, I relied heavily on using vulgarity and explicit sex to hide my real emotions. It took me several weeks to write and I was so proud of myself when it was done. I typed it up on a computer at the library and printed it out, I read it in secret late at night alone and hid it deep inside my mountain of things.

Find it here. Feel free to throw claps or pass it along to friends who are down with Medium paywall.

That’s pretty much it for pub news.

In side hustle news. GOOD NEWS!! Patreon decided not to go ahead with the terrible fee schedule change. SO that means, Imma be expanding that shit.

More about that in my end of year wrap post later.

You can read some standalone Daiyuverse here at wattpad.

Um yeah. I think that’s all in the news you can use.

I have been grinding in the background, trying to get ready for large life changes. Writing like a motherfucker.

Hopefully before the end of the goddamn year I will finish my new pro website AND shit.

As usual I’m flailing into the future fully hype and terrified.

That’s it for now. Coming soonish, my end of year wrap up, some news and whatnots. And I’m gonna do one last giant link list so y’all, drop them links to your stuff in the comments.

 

But Can I be Honest? Or Can a Bitch live?

Okay, so, in this post election Trumpfuckian* nightmare, being that I am a creator of things, I have been creating things.

I already published one essay about my real feelings post election. Find it here at Medium. I put a general content warning on it for everything. If you’re feeling fragile do not read.

Ahem.

If you’ve been here for more than five minutes you could fairly say, I have a salty tongue. I’m a foul mouthed heathen. I use the Seven Dirty Words quite liberally in my work.

I have long understood that because I stand by my bad words as being necessary, that precludes me being published a lot of places. I get it. I know.

I know I am a difficult sell even when I’m not saying mother fucker every few words and it’s okay. I made peace with that.

I. know.

Now, before I was totally done with the essay, I had a nibble of interest that quickly turned into a, well if you (insert edits that would strip it of it’s power and turn it into Nice Black Lady Pap+end with hope I don’t feel) and I am not with that.

Now, since I published it myself, the reception has been pretty great. Way less pushback than I expected, some folks saw fit to use my tip jar and send some donations which is incredible. I’m about that life.

That said, I find it interesting that when I’m completely naked honest, I’m talking ass out bucky ass nekkid- I self publish and things tend to go well.

I take that same energy and what I think is an integral part of my voice to the markets and I fail. Miserably.

My literary partner in let us call it impending Unfuckwithableness Milcah has pointed out to me, I’ve succeeded when I’m just 100% about who I am and not trying to pretend.

It’s true.

And we come back around to me being me and my, uh, not quite fitting a lot of the narrative places have of what they want to say.

For instance, some okay, no let me be real about it all of my poetry lately has been bloody, bleak, and not uplifting. Basically how I’m feeling. I clocked some very swift rejections for a piece I’ll put at Ink node later on. Keep your eye out here.

Being rejected doesn’t but me by itself. What bothers me are the notes that came with the rejections about how these pubs are going for Hope and Unity and Feelgoodness (my word) right now.

But why isn’t there room for me too?

I really hate the idea that we as creators must immediately go to the hope and not document our grief and rage. My grief, my rage isn’t going to end with all of us holding hands and singing Old Negro Spirituals.

It’s going to end in blood because that’s how I feel.

There’s room for more than happy uplift.

There is space for those who are despairing and only know to make art or otherwise create to help get through it.

I’ve talked to some friends and a lot of us are in this same boat. We need to scream and make bloody rage filled art and we’d like for it to be valued as much as the uplift and shiny hope.

So yanno, if you have space, consider making space for us less shiny  minded folks.

This is Not Okay.

Some poet I’ve only heard of a little bit and the Huffington Post did this. Warning it is the “remixed” last words of the young man who shot people at UCSB. I’ve used do not link so they don’t get clickbait money.

One of this persons responses is here.

This is taken from the huffpo page itself:

The aim of this metamodern poem is to turn on their heads the words of hatred Elliot Rodger left behind him as he exited this world. The author condemns in the strongest terms the actions of Elliot Rodger; the aim here is to rescue language from the perversion of language, not to glorify an individual whose actions were incontrovertibly evil. Note that this poem is intended as an address to, not an address from, Elliot Rodger.

Are you fucking joking?

He exited and left hate? No he left blood, death, and families who have senselessly lost their loved ones because they were women or men in the wrong place.

This man killed those people because he hated women. There is no reclamation of that.

None.

Now I’ve only seen this discussed so far at VIDA on their facebook page see that here.

I don’t know if this poet thinks that it will do something great for his career to ride the coattails of the murder of innocent women, or if it is one of those fucking hipster I’m totally not sexist but I’m really fucking awfully sexist type things or what but, this is not okay.

I’ve seen calls about being censored.

Okay you are a professional and educated writer. If you don’t understand that tolerance of bullshit is not censorship maybe your fancy degrees and publication credits are wasted.

I have seen (usually) men do this often because they feel something for their brethren but this faux concern is aimed at the wrong place.

I would like to see Mr. Abramson stand in front of the families of the murdered people and explain to them how his poem is “addressed to” the man who murdered their loved one because he felt entitled to posessing the bodies of “blond sluts”.

How about standing in front of every woman who has ever been terrified and in fear for her actual life because she said no and telling them how on the Huffington Post, how

the aim here is to rescue language from the perversion of language, not to glorify an individual whose actions were incontrovertibly evil. 

This is sick.

This is disgusting.

This is one of the ways we see that there is no respect for the victims in a situation like this because this douchebag thinks that “fixing” the perverted language will do something.

Here is a fact.

The language was not perverted it was crystal clear.

That man hated women.

He felt entitled to getting fucked regardless of his behavior.

Even his family thought he was dangerous.

People died because he couldn’t get his fucking dick sucked.

Where is the poetry to fix the perverted language women hear every day? Where is the remix of the men who chased me for blocks alternately telling me they were going to rape me or that I could get 20$ if I sucked their dicks?

Where is the fix for the times women are called bitches because we have the NERVE to not be sexually available to every dude who wants it?

…………….

nope?

That’s what I thought.

Beyond my general loathing of Clickbait Huffington post nonsense, the fact that this is what the lit world serves up as a response to something that was a.) entirely preventable and b.) so deeply terrifying to so many women I am disgusted.

I am disgusted at the click bait.

I am disgusted with this poet.

I am disgusted that the word censorship has even entered into it.

I am disgusted by the level of privilege it takes to say I don’t want to fight but I like to talk. It is the the same song fake allies use to silence the voices of anyone who makes them uncomfortable.

This entire thing is a circle jerk of privilege and it makes me want to vomit.

Personally given that this writer is now on my radar, I will seek to avoid him and his work entirely. I will warn any women to avoid it. This is yet another instance where I am left wondering, who the fuck is driving the bus.

I had planned on writing about something else but I couldn’t. I hope that after the holiday weekend there is more discussion about this.

Also if you’re going to comment understand that I will not put up with bullshit. None. So don’t.

And let me say this as well.

The real fact is this sort of tragedy is something I think about constantly. As I said in my essay about “Female Privilege”,

What matters is that in my real actual life, at least a few times a month I am forced into the position of being ready to defend myself while taking note of the look of the man/men, while being aware of my surroundings, while being hyper aware that- that night might be the night I get assaulted.

It makes me sick that some douchebag would do this for his own purposes (regardless of his intent) on the back of that kind of pervasive fear.

That’s all. I can’t.