The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: HoodWitch by Faylita Hicks

A Tale from the Hood

Undercover, the triggers
of chalk-dusted goons tripped
on the local game of niggas
they was hunting. Caught
everybody off guard.
And these fools thought
it was all just gonna go away.
They canceled the TV crews
& the coroners & the internal
investigations. Told everyone:
Just go home. It’s over. But it
wasn’t over. It’s never over. It
got the traumatized & taunted—
aunties/mamas/grandmamas—
to congress over they forgotten
& call down they ancestors.
Summon up the rooted. Go live.
And boo: They. was. not. ready.

Moon-eaters swarm & hum
under the fluorescent trick
of the busted streetlight
over on Fifth. Swell & flood out
the alley. All of them, hooded
spooks on howl. Apparitions
of chopped tar-dipped diamonds
grinning cement teeth. Their faces
beat jigsaw, their bodies slick
as graffiti—they’ve come back
to get what they’re owed.

B b L l A a C c K k acid bleeding
all over the streets, they drippin’
coagulated cayenne like they is
those girls. Just girls before
the nick & chomp; before the city caught
they bodies; before the city slipped into
they bodies, but now—they flares
of mauve light, rockin’ inflamed chests
& split cherry tongues; they swollen throats
full of fire. They eyes on hot
like ruptured dwarf stars.

Before they were graffiti,
they were boys. Before steel hymns
whispered holes into them,
they were boys. Just boys
before the chop & flip;
before they were separated
bone from rib; before the city
got under they skin for good,
they was boys—but now, they jugs
full of lightning—swirling summer
storms in their smoke-infused cheeks,
pushing havoc up through they filtered lungs
& out through they Gucci pursed lips;
they air colliding with scripture
like Molotov cocktails & brick walls.


This selection comes from the book, HoodWitch, available from Acre Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Tierney Bailey.

From their website (https://www.faylitahicks.com): “Faylita Hicks (pronouns: she/her/they) is a queer writer and the Editor-in-Chief of the Austin-based literary journal Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University, and has received fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Tin House, Right of Return USA, and the Vermont Studio Center. Hicks’s debut poetry collection HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019) is a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award and the Julie Suk Award. Her poems and essays have been featured in or are forthcoming in Adroit, American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Huffpost, Longreads, Poetry Daily, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, the Rumpus, Slate, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer, and elsewhere.”

Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. Currently, Tierney is an associate poetry editor at Sundress Publications, a copyeditor at Strange Horizons, and a freelance graphic designer. Tierney earned a Masters Degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. Tierney is most easily found screaming into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney. 
 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: HoodWitch by Faylita Hicks

Photo of X, 2007: HoodWitches

Somewhere, Somewhere

#hallelujah to the HoodWitches

 to the shellac clapbacks & neck-roll snaps

of sistahs who snatch tracks & dodge ditches.

#blessedbe to they too small kitchens.

#blessedbe they dolla-tree gumbo.

#blessedbe they cokes & hot cheetos.

may the gawds smile down & rain money on some of us bxtches.

#imdifferent

descended from the truth-eaters,

i swallowed sarah saartjie baartman.

she buried herself in the slip of my hips

& now she lives in all the mirrors

of my apartment.

now she pats me on the belly

& begs for me to feed her.

so i search me out some rood boys,

those thick two-headed ox-men.

cook me up some fine soup,

roast sweet potatoes on parchment,

then i sucks me down them oxtails!

girl, i cost them! #hallelujah to the HoodWitches.

to the snapbacks & double daps

of qweens gone pedestrian.

#blessedbe to they children’s children.

may the gawds smile down & watch over the black naps

& snatched backs of black womxn

dragged into the system. of black

womxn survived outside the system. black

womxn survived despite the system. #asheashe

to my black girls gone missing.

to my sisters gone missing.

to our daughters & granddaughters.

to our mamas & grandmamas.

#asheashe to the crowned & uncrowned

to those

above

&

below

ground.


This selection comes from the book, HoodWitch, available from Acre Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Tierney Bailey.

From their website (https://www.faylitahicks.com): “Faylita Hicks (pronouns: she/her/they) is a queer writer and the Editor-in-Chief of the Austin-based literary journal Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University, and has received fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Tin House, Right of Return USA, and the Vermont Studio Center. Hicks’s debut poetry collection HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019) is a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award and the Julie Suk Award. Her poems and essays have been featured in or are forthcoming in Adroit, American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Huffpost, Longreads, Poetry Daily, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, the Rumpus, Slate, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer, and elsewhere.”

Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. Currently, Tierney is an associate poetry editor at Sundress Publications, a copyeditor at Strange Horizons, and a freelance graphic designer. Tierney earned a Masters Degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. Tierney is most easily found screaming into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney. 
 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: HoodWitch by Faylita Hicks

For the White Girl in Poetry Workshop Who Says I Don’t Belong Here

i cut out all the parts you wouldn’t like about this. decided to leave only:
the femur.
the fibula.
the thorax.
my neck, swiveling skull
a clicking vertebra, the spine
or the tail. what is left of it anyways.
my knees—still bleeding—fresh.
for you, my sweet.
the jaw grind. my ground teeth.
chatter. chatter. chit. chit.
i sleep with too many words in my mouth.
mouth, in
the catcher.
the dream—catcher—in my chest.
the left shoe. the wrong foot.
the note: read for further instructions.
a single tube of bitch. the lipstick, my dear.
my ruptured lung. the slinky.
i put a spell in this. for you, my dear.
a pastor. green. a pen like a pink tooth.
i wish you ink that bleeds.
a well. blxck & fat. a hungry thing.

the hand.
the Saturn.
the binary four.
the digitus medius.
for you, my sweet.


This selection comes from the book, HoodWitch, available from Acre Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Tierney Bailey.

From their website (https://www.faylitahicks.com): “Faylita Hicks (pronouns: she/her/they) is a queer writer and the Editor-in-Chief of the Austin-based literary journal Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University, and has received fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Tin House, Right of Return USA, and the Vermont Studio Center. Hicks’s debut poetry collection HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019) is a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award and the Julie Suk Award. Her poems and essays have been featured in or are forthcoming in Adroit, American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Huffpost, Longreads, Poetry Daily, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, the Rumpus, Slate, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer, and elsewhere.”

Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. Currently, Tierney is an associate poetry editor at Sundress Publications, a copyeditor at Strange Horizons, and a freelance graphic designer. Tierney earned a Masters Degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. Tierney is most easily found screaming into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney. 
 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: HoodWitch by Faylita Hicks

My Mother, the Forest

1My Mother, the Forest, whispers with the owls2 about
the true nature of men. The honesty of murder. The
certainty of death—the necessity of it. 3All day & all
night, She hums about the bones of the red wolves
buried somewhere beneath Her floor,4 the children
She never intended to hold on to.
5My Mother, the Forest, stacks up dozens of years as
though they were axes. There, then, is where some went
& never returned. 6Some dreams & some children She
never intended to hold on to. 7 I carry these slack-necked dreams like infants,8dragging their tiny
breaths between the pines, from one dirt floor to the
next. 9The blxck body of every misshapen thought as
heavy as a face with too many names. 10I carry what’s
left of blxck girls along the familiar path;11a circle
of time. 12Knowing that beneath this consecrated
ground—13beneath the birch trees, next to the pond,
in the wood & under rock—14there is the spoil of blood.
Beneath others’ others—15their lies, the truth—those
that we know16She killed with Her own greedy hands
when She was young & mad.
17My Mother is sick with light—with Her fertile hunger
for a god outside of Herself. 18My Mother, the Forest,
has become a green host to white men who lean out
of rotting pines & pat their tight chests;19who whine
about the loss of equality; who called my sister out
her name; who asked her about: her dogs, her honey,
1985, & the quality of the local game;20who grabbed
their groins & said they liked her gap tooth & knew
where to find her missing daddy;21who whistled ghost
& something about her shame beneath.
22My Mother, the Forest, sings I am all bones with
men dangling from my teeth & the ropes between my
pines, beneath my birch trees. 23They swing around
the path of my neck now & no—I think nothing of
them.
24Don’t worry, child. They god could never save them
now.


This selection comes from the book, HoodWitch, available from Acre Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Tierney Bailey.

From their website (https://www.faylitahicks.com): “Faylita Hicks (pronouns: she/her/they) is a queer writer and the Editor-in-Chief of the Austin-based literary journal Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University, and has received fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Tin House, Right of Return USA, and the Vermont Studio Center. Hicks’s debut poetry collection HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019) is a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award and the Julie Suk Award. Her poems and essays have been featured in or are forthcoming in Adroit, American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Huffpost, Longreads, Poetry Daily, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, the Rumpus, Slate, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer, and elsewhere.”

Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. Currently, Tierney is an associate poetry editor at Sundress Publications, a copyeditor at Strange Horizons, and a freelance graphic designer. Tierney earned a Masters Degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. Tierney is most easily found screaming into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney. 
 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: HoodWitch by Faylita Hicks

daddy says milk bone clinches the cartilage
of my name between his grated palms & my Momma’s
souped tongue Momma says you nasty cow
& i shit milk. curdle in my panties.
cross my legs at the dinner table to hush my bell
heavy-belly & it takes years
for me to learn how to open my mouth wide enough to say
move
but when i finally do my sisters torque into fat bronze bowls
brimming with white silk & salt their loaded bodies
dripping ceaselessly
with the holler
of
woman


This selection comes from the book, HoodWitch, available from Acre Books.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Tierney Bailey.

From their website (https://www.faylitahicks.com): “Faylita Hicks (pronouns: she/her/they) is a queer writer and the Editor-in-Chief of the Austin-based literary journal Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University, and has received fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Tin House, Right of Return USA, and the Vermont Studio Center. Hicks’s debut poetry collection HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019) is a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award and the Julie Suk Award. Her poems and essays have been featured in or are forthcoming in Adroit, American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Huffpost, Longreads, Poetry Daily, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, the Rumpus, Slate, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer, and elsewhere.”

Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. Currently, Tierney is an associate poetry editor at Sundress Publications, a copyeditor at Strange Horizons, and a freelance graphic designer. Tierney earned a Masters Degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. Tierney is most easily found screaming into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney. 
 

 

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