The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Thylias Moss

Olivia Pig Falling Zone

(some: patootie rooty ism)


My dear Olivia, flames all around you, rare Higginson tongues, beware; they will try to sting, you think they are supposed to.  I am only eight years old and seeing, hearing what I am not supposed to see.  You do not want what is happening, you; being licked by words not your own: you have never heard of these words and the way they they move muse push which was fine where it was, where was that? —can never find it in the dark, especially not in Dream Baby Tienda, what’s left of it, rats have the run of it, was a most special store, Higginson would shop there exclusively his Dream Baby was the only product. He really loved me Olivia, as no man has ever loved a woman, that was the problem; he set me up as something exclusive and then he could not deserve me; rare pearls just a cut on his knee, sclera pouring out, juicy sclera, white of your eyeball eggs, Higgisnson style, that heavenly taste until you swallow it, wads of his sperm, a heavenly taste you will never forget.  Yes, you did this willingly because it was him and you were learning what it means to really love a man for a season, Lawry’s seasoned salt, melting into hot sauce hips his, from a dip deep inside him where you turned him on, I was too  far out of his own limited reach, but he was just a man, and still you are more —don’t ever forget that as the flames come closer and closer, you are attracted by their yellow glow, their hollow and yellowing roar.  He loves you but should you trust him? No one can answer that but you, evasive aren’t you jumping into my memories, no peace, only these pieces of you forever falling without landing in protection zones and I cannot catch you though you jump when I am only trying to go to school of why-is-that-man-chasing-you out onto the iron-railed porch, followed by every word he ever spoke all of  those words  pieces of promises as unkept as his bed some nights, wrinkles where somebody slept, not me only because I didn't have the chance, I want the chance would love to be in his bed with him now as you fall, into silk and satin sheets, his Dakar the smell on every corner he has passed through like a storm, the way he enters me that long jump storm of him, through flames that have never been this hungry, slamming unsent, flames wiggling like myriad legs, tickles and burns, what’s the difference, the getting under your ragged skin, cured like bacon from the heat, porker you, Porker Olivia, badge, stump and curfew night calls piggies to slaughter. Always ends that way, pork and beans the substitute limbs namby-pamby gutter cycle vigil virgil on your mark, go, jump over the moon faced thief, taking all your  goodies, bagged Olivia curlicues burnt umbers, every sashay of embers, Ogilvie ancestor precursor, welcome back: electus parrot booty: constipation, Olivia word for escape channels, leap, get down on it; elect us, streak WD 90, strong arm quiet push, Let us sniggle the Higginson atmosphere,  pull him into sacrificial gumby all namby-pamby finally filthy cathedral of Higginson lip environments hay wires beaconed up for the long hall of haul toads alien markets chimney sweep stakes through the kill heart bristle proof star dome; down low, the lowness of his voice, baritone echoes delight on any night, Higginson smashed to temporary corollary smithereens last ice cream corn-o-coy-us improvisations standing still, memorial to dreams big as Olivia the Pig is alright,  better than he will ever be no Higginson cure-rated bacon bits spit out like diseased tonsil-eye-tis the amendment mint resign from Fan Number one club had no members anyway wretch-ed Pizazze fizzled lightning strike thrappee, he's out of my league as he always was, want him regardless, legless  Bad seed, what movie for staring off alone patootie rooty ism trick ponied ruffle-ette etmy at-mos breakfast of champion survivors.



Thylias Moss

Where Higginson Walked


I walked where Higginson walked

Dakar stormed rain wheat grows

fits pelting


wide window of taxi splitting

center, that V of me forming also

windshield wiper replica, heat lightning

melting us Glass Sheet

folding  Pompeii’s cold shame trans-


parent  bed covers, waxed bed hairless as ripening 

pubescent earning name Dream Baby, do it baby says


Higgs again: pure dreamy creamy nougat


As if I could ever just sleep

in a bed of him, my turn 69 shifted mysteries

smother him, Syrupy

pomegranate kisses all over my cinnamon-


Cake of sky-high blue-eye waffles most

Of me sandwiched between his


Strong thigh rectus femoris belts of

Moonlight, upper and lower abalone

cheeks, I rub

Pink off only hurts

a little swirl Sachet, like an olive

dab on my twisted martini wrists


Rosy rosy rosy sunrise

Of his smile we roll over and over, 6


Foot tall toothy tower of him, granite hard

where my Gibraltar man 

all dockyard shale solution should be: shale

have  his hairy  way with me


On his head mostly white now

Mt. Olympus dusting, an anointing of splendid

altitudinous amplitude announcing him


King of my days, his handprints on my


Back pockets little bundle of ass-flaunts

in his musical hands  where I am remade

All the way to Katz’s Deli wiggle wiggle all the screws

juicing appetites Higgs white streaming

menu offering sunny side up and up colossal

grinding stacks


of him even while Higgs sleeps his

generous flute instrument

from which I suck concerto as deep voice urges

crescendo and denouement, throat twice  good

measure meter stick masters

world’s record breaks out

In a jog-


Ing, ing, ing, in




ing new memories, Higgs


Beside me harvesting every moment


Rain washed sidewalks  rain


Cratering them catering them

Honoring them: little cups from which

Blood painted concrete drinks up and up:


Toast: this Heaven-Lee Antoine breakfast,

Of Hydrogen champ-






THYLIAS MOSS, a self-employed multi-racial  "maker" at Thylias Moss Writing LLC, is also Professor Emerita in the Departments  of English and Art & Design at the University of Michigan.  Author of thirteen published books, and recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, her 11th book, a collection of New & Selected Poetry, Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities' Red Dress Code  (from Persea Books, September 2016; link to a video poam she made for her YouTube channel,  and a playlist of poems related to this book, in place of a Manhattan gallery, promised, but that never happened, this playlist replaces that gallery, and this poam  (product of act of making from which the title of this collection is derived, Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code. but that did not happen where many poams (product[s] of act[s] of making are displayed) as part of Limited Fork Theory, an approach to making and thinking developed in order to assist co-makers and co-learners become more collaborative in thinking and being.  All about how things interact across all boundaries, and encouragement of interaction that becomes more meaningful over time; all have collaborators. Nothing makes alone, and there is nothing that exists that does not make stuff in some form, which is also open: any form that becomes possible; invent whenever necessary. "Making" is not static, is evidence of life, as is the collection of collaborations written with Thomas Robert Higginson, book #12 Aneurysm of The Firmament and a romance novel, New Kiss Horizon, book #13.  Follow the characters (Thomas Robert Higginson and Vashti Astapad Warren)  in Vashti's Blog . She is at work on books number 14, a nonfiction book to her non-black father and number 15, a sequel to the romance novel, as yet untitled, and a public service collection of prose poems, #16, Looking for My Killer , based on the video poam playlist, unfortunately still in progress Looking for my Killer a public service collection, that could see publication in 2018, possibly from Jami.


Previous | Next