Sensing Space: Philadelphia

Philly sounds like,

hot oil breaking across cast iron,

tortillas frying, tea kettle steamin’ 

the word vagina, spoken unapologetically.

the laughter that comes 

when bodies sometimes 

collide in space,

the tenderness of 



smiles at the recognition

of space and distance

as the eyes’ illusion,

but gravity is real. 

the velocity at which

you move to me,

and me moves to we.

Like Agent of Change,

Victor Toro/Mos Def mashups.

The 33 to Penns Landing,

folk hoppin’ out on Market.

Amerigo Gazaway,

James Brown/Biggie soul mates.

Indigenous Trap for dayz

Futurism and speaking love.

Tupac’s transgression of time and space.

Keep ya head up on constant loop.

Shit talkin and impressions of wack emcees

like learning that you snore.

Philly tastes like

Mate, cayenne, ginger realness

sweet potato, black bean tacos

on the first night

like citrus and tea tree,

jasmine and honey.

dollar tacos against my better judgment

like cheese plates,

that are guaranteed to make me sick.

spiced black tea

Pistachio, raisin, eggplant,

rose water soaked arroz

More tea tree

nervous anticipation

like your tongue wet with saliva

inviting me to taste your sweetness

brief encounters leavin’ you hungry for more

like berbere spices sucked from fingers

Cumin lingering in each sambussa bit.

Cinnamon, clove coconut water,

thirst quenching healing

Philly looks like 

broken sidewalk,

aerosol can love poetry.

Coffee shop selfies, 

proclaiming brown is beautiful.

bookhaven’s where sunlight catches corners 

and Eldridges’s soul is illuminated in the dusty stacks

shadows cast by prison walls,

community gardens and white tourist

creating normalcy outta violence.

Flyness far as the eye can see

Black and brown queerness,

Steppin out on a Friday night

Like old city wackness,

Colonial becomes an adjective

For abject violence,

“Colonial hair salon”

Serving oppression with you shape up

Like impromptu Jeff Chang,

writin’ “Who we Be”

the ghosts of Osage 1985,

city scars if you know where to look.

Philly feels like

soft skin and beautiful hands

Shivering tense muscles

Teeth chattering

Cozy blankets and kitten snuggles

Falling asleep touching

like makin’ love and a first date,

all in the same exhale.

familiar to the touch, 

this space my body has never been

keystrokes recording histories

fingertips transcribing narratives

knowledge coded in touch.

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