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Grey Sparrow Journal and Press, as of January 31, 2018 will move to

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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The Taste of our Names 


regardless of what the sun’s puissant ray

may tell you of the taste of my flesh,

i am not an emissary who curbs war

and revolts with waves of abandon, bartering

my blackness for packs of bribes

that come in prayers & eulogies of twelve religions.


rather, i am the name of a man battered

by the harsh whispers of spite by an eloquence

of lawyers whose tongues are mapped

by geographies of success, globes shaped

                                   like adam’s apple  (literally)


i am the ash on sidi bouzid, searching

for the arabic nomenclature for scream, the

tiny providence on the lips of tunisians

                           that will just say bouazizi


i am the drowned ghosts of refugees, the

one minute silences invented by daughters

who only hear about their fathers on confessions

                        by pirates smooching wooden crosses


i am the soft natter of juveniles,

the erratic swirl of chibok’s gospels, riding

on the scent of betrayal from judas’s kiss


i do not have the algorithms to night’s tempest shades,

millenniums crumbling into fragments of decay.

but this is how i thwart pain, by recounting

the jaded edges of our ancestry with songs,

                                                       unmaking chaos.


                                                          -Ajise Vincent