will you church it / will you pass it along pews of almost-saints until it reaches the whole congregation / will you tithe it / will you stretch it thin like goat skin over the shell of a djembe drum / will you slap it / will you let the echo dance  naked in the wet cave of your throat / will you bark it / will you sing it / like my mother is listening / will you inhale until your lungs nearly burst then inhale some mo then will you say my name / will you put some stank on it / will you juke joint james brown it will you jheri curl spray it / how can i rest in peace or power / if you get all lazy lipped when you talkin bout me / will you scoop it thick / will you stir it slow / will you mac n cheese it will you mm-mm-mm to spread the savory over your tongue / will you let it marinate / will you serve it with sunday dinner / if you say my name and cast iron skillets don’t start rattlin / that mean you aint say it loud enough / will you say it again / if a redwood don’t split open from the trunk / that mean you aint pronounce it right / will you say it again  / will you redecorate a city in streams of fire after me / will you paint downtown a scorching hue / will you stain the sky in black smoke / will you tell ghost stories / over the ashes of this empire / will you scream it / will you stand in the clutter of rush hour traffic to let them know what kind of boots i wore / will you  stomp it into the soil of the last place i laughed with my whole body / will you dance it / will you  saturday night praise it / will you tamborine it / will you drunken favorite song shout it / will you full moon howl / will you shriek / will you chant / will you live / will you cry / for me / will you? 


—previously published in Grist Journal—

Darius Simpson

—2nd Place, Previously Published Prize—

Darius Simpson is a writer, educator, performer, and skilled living room dancer from Akron, Ohio. Much like the means of production, he believes poetry belongs to and with the masses. He aims to inspire that feeling you get that makes you frown and slightly twist up ya face in approval. Darius believes in the dissolution of empire and the total liberation of Africans and all oppressed people by any means available.