Two Poems by Kamden Hilliard

Brooklyn, February

you leave me             eleven dollars     on the dresser
to catch a cab       chafing drool
down the pipedark avenues 

i am tricked and treated         and slowed
under this hurricane-comedown        kind of night
this is a consumer’s   disdain
we all know     all vanishes 
but that doesnt make                 this
easier                     thats still satellite-light 
dappling your broke-lyn           loft(not stars)
the moon’s benevolence         like you
is a trick               of perception and drugs

                                              but maybe you will miss 
this time   me        or will me             a minor heartache
but thats still     eleven dollars         and these
bruises            are still burrowing 

the cabbie laughs           eheh this damn sure 
aint enough      to get you home          bruh

i wonder why            he thinks        id go back anywhere
ive been?          when i think        return
its more keyboard      diction      than reckless boom-
eranging             i find              like lot 
theres nothing to be gained     in the past

and thankfully            eleven dollars is far                   enough
to think about my next         line          of white inhalations or 
exhaltations          pouring me half empty
down      a drain       which isnt so bad      which 
isnt so       anywhere ive been      before






a group of vigils is called         an implication

and book learning!
let a black boy loose in a library            
and youll understand american slavery

id be nervous too white america         fight 
america part of one nation       under a god       
divisibled      i took classes once so i know       
amaze really means: thats dope as fuck THOUGH 
im also scarred        i mean scared         
but depending upon your pigmentation please
choose your own adventure! 

ive never worn a bullet barrel unibrow or heard 
jim crowing me home       BUT my doc used to say: the best indicator 
of future behavior is past behavior        

and yalls asses still dont see why im nervous     all the time?      
why all the time      feels like its ready to time me the fuck out?

i am not impressed by sunsets       but pressed like: 
how many morea these i got     till i step into the wrong 
Missouri        or Unites States?
i am working hard     to be impressed
or amazed these days in general
in this maze:my poor blackface    trying to whiteface    
against  a whole lotta whitefaces    trying to blackface      i am egg
on my own face     and something smells real red white and blue round here
but mostly red     mostly something id read in the paper      read 
as long as im not        the dead        headline and sinker




Kamden Hilliard tries to study creative writing and psychology in New York. He succeeds. Sometimes. He is: a poor sleeper, 2012 Davidson Fellow, 2013 Norman Mailer College Poetry Award Semifinalist, a 2014 Callaloo Fellow, contributor for Elite Daily and an avid hiker. He tries to keep busy. Sometimes The Adroit Journal and Dark Phrases Magazine let him pick poems and essays to share. His poems have appeared (or will appear) in Requited Journal, *82 Review, Specter, and other lovely places. If Kamden wasn’t writing, he’d be very sad—or a scientist.