two poems

by Faylita Hicks

Chaos 1:1

your name in suspension. my mouth empties itself
into long stretches of nowhere. you still live

where the grasses hiss. any lick of land
alongside highway 70. you hover

like a bowl of light. stratify dozens
of doped super moons. magnetic, the hours

rope around my wrist. a constant ring around me.
you extend eternally. lost luggage. our listless moans

vibrate in the hollow. fill the emptied archive
of empathetic arms. i loved you forever.

cavernous & often, grief holds me & your name.
a litany of porcelain prayers.

scattered between the years after you fell into permanence
& after i put myself back together. i have cross-dialed the plains

for you. in search of hills for pasture. perched
on the highest rock facing east. i have jumped

into the after-sun. it feels as though i have lived
too many times for this sort of dream, with all-of its glamorous eternity.

you made a weapon of me.
siphoned whatever was left innocent.

left me a trigger-less barrel. barren.
if it brings me to you. i will split this self.

between sacred & the altar
of lazarus. i ache for you.

in the parts of me that still yield.


Natural Beginnings 7: 1-6

1 And God said “It is the way the tree falls, without her hair, 2 into the ground where she comes from and should feel the most complete 3 to sleep with an axe in her hand, 4 same as I did when I was young 5 and traveled so, 6 that keeps her amongst my most coveted.” And the women hid their bodies from God, in fear.

I was a terrible thing then.

A native of the Land, as disturbed
as she. As touched and eviscerated.

I was without reason or wisdom
or allegory or Elders. Young, I scattered

like crushed bone. Alive, I was dust
suffering this rotation of dark & light,

never escaping. I wandered & dug
down for water. I was a wanted thing

then. My mouth, a red bird caught,
confiscated. Put on display.

A perused canyon, where once my mouth was.
My fingers, stone tools etching visions

into creeks and bark & others like me.
Converting skin into marble. Clay,

gutted for its density. Its actual heavy,
each of us a jar of prayer, full of soaking

whispers. I yearned for sleep. For peace
and vengeance. For another, like me, with salt

for a tongue. With mud for a womb.
With breasts full of lakes and minnows.

Faylita Hicks is a Black, Queer writer, mobile photographer, performance and Hip-Hop artist from San Marcos, TX. She was the 2009 Grand Slam Champion of the Austin Poetry Slam. Her manuscript was a finalist in the 2016 Write Bloody Book Contest and 2012 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest. In 2015, she released her first Hip Hop EP, Collision City. In 2018, she was an inaugural Open Mouth Readings Writing Retreat participant and was awarded a Sundress Academy for the Arts Residency.

Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus, Glass Poetry Press, Kweli Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, Matador Review, Ink & Nebula, American Poetry Journal, Yes Poetry and others. Her visual art has been exhibited in the Texas State University Common Experience Gallery, Insomnia Art Gallery (Houston, X), Dahlia Woods Gallery and featured in Five:2:One Art & Literary print magazine.

She is the founder and Creative Director of Arrondi Creative Productions and an artist on the roster for Hip-Hop Collective Grid Squid Entertainment. In 2017, she was awarded the San Marcos Arts Commission Grant for her monthly event series, SMTX Ripple Market which provided performance and exhibit opportunities to Women, POC and those identified as LGBQ-IA.

She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada College’s Low Residency program and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Texas State University in San Marcos, TX.

Artwork by: Vladimir Lyovin

Vladimir Lyovin is a Russian photographer who specializes in fine art photography. Vladimir was born in 1984 in Omsk. In his home town he received the qualification as a fine art photographer. Since 2011 he lives and works in Saint-Petersburg. Vladimir is working and developing as an independent visual artist. In his art Vladimir explores digital photography, thus, creating digital paintings.

Instagram: @lyovinvladimir