Sunday, April 9, 2017

Flavor of Hope

Image and Product Credit:
Cancer is not just a word.
It is tightness,
like ringing out a wet cloth with two fists
pressed firmly together,
but no matter how long the fists remain clenched
the cloth remains damp;
It is constraint,
like a dietary restriction to two tiny
pomegranate seeds while
the rest of the goddess fruit lay
within reach,

the opposite of free,
like four generations of
Black men in the same privately
operated prison pressed against the
wall while wearing chains;

it is promises to God and country and
mostly questions to self:
if- I-get-the-chance-there’s-gonna-be-a new-me,
why doesn’t that mirror recognize me?

it is 365 prayers per day,
but mostly for them that can’t
imagine or don’t want
to consider the entire life cycle;

it is strange dreams
tears, fear, medication, pacing,
late night phone calls,
tension headaches,
errors, cellular mutations,
and proliferation like blackberry
bushes in July;

it is distance like standing
In the room with a best friend
and having nothing to say
because these might be the
final words;

it is emotion that gets stuck in the throat,
a lump that can only be sung away
with bellows grounded deeply in faith;

it is like a scooped handful
of mystery filled chocolates
-all the favorite flavors of hope;

it is solidarity in spite of a bitter past,
another chance, perfect strangers
amazing nurses, fasting, reconciliation,
leaping with joy.
shouting! remission!  
praises in every tongue,
pink ribbons,
glory, survival,
and above all

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


You can purchase my poem "Language" Published on the occasion of the 11th Gwangju Biennial (Korea) In collaboration with Publication Studio.


These poems are part of an installation called the Poetry Dispensary.  Poetry Dispensary, a mechanical artwork that vends poetry, and is displayed as a gallery piece  as a part of the exhibition ‘Archaeologies of the Extraordinary Everyday.’


Guest curated by Seattle-based artist Anne Marie Grgich, the audacious and mesmeric multi-layer exhibition will be on display at the Black Lab Gallery’s new location in Everett, WA.
Archaeologies of the Extraordinary Everyday opens Thursday, May 19, 2016, with a second opening on June 14th 2016

According to Grgich, she envisioned Archaeologies as a showcase of “extraordinary masterpieces, everyday wares and fantastic creations, not sparse, but feverish, memorable, and archeological. Objects with voices both ancient and modern.” Grgich has described her own work as “bold and luminous, painterly, gritty, grotesque, hysterical, historic” and this exhibition is no exception.

I wanted to share these poems with people who won’t get to go to washington State and, perhaps, haven’t seen this voice from me before now. I am honored to have my poems as part of this collection.

Strawberry Hips

he likes that my hips
are spreading like
the strawberry
vines in our garden,
my thighs plump like
the berries, the juice
between them sun
ripened sweet
says he’d watch my
weight for us,
he needs it for something,
says he and looks at my
eyes when he says to keep
my mind off of the
external me
a young woman asked,
“what does it feel like
to be beautiful?”
i wanted to
cry harder
instead i wiped
the silent tears,
fanned my face
with a french manicured
fake fan
her waiting-for-an-answer
expression never
check within i wanted to say
You are beautiful i tried to say
you can learn more
about beauty
from a garden than from me
i finally said
then we stood in
silence for
a long while.

Talena Lachelle Queen

Monarchs’ Wings


I am the sea,
Drown in me
instead of whiskey—
float on my surface and
ride my waves

Meet me at the shore—
barefoot and prepared,
for an enduring night with
with Luna’s full face, fireflies,
moths and the bright eyes
of evening birds—
looking for what is sweet

And when morning rises upon the
horizon, and the Monarchs’ orange
wings migrate across –
let them find us and rest on your back
with anticipation of their journey’s end
where they too will make poetry.

Talena Lachelle Queen

Thank You, Alice Walker

Getty Images

Thank you, Alice Walker
for searching and finding;
for remembering and reminding
us, and the world where we
should make a mark for
the shero Hurston, Zora Neale.

Since your voyage, folks
have come to show what they know--
that writers: playwrights, poets, novelist; all--
never really do go away, completely;
that we should make a mark on the earth
in remembrance, rightly so, of them
the way the wordsmiths have made a mark on us.