Ode to Powerline

Winner of the 2022 DISQUIET Prize for Poetry


 “if you’re ever lonelayyyy, stop, you don’t have to be.”

you, thrust open leather vest glisten chest in the desert
you, both knee beggin in silver pants plus rain
you, break a lover wide to see what lyrics may flow                                                            

chorus basically a moan stretched out the measure 
of a messy long distance relationship run its course
and the reason i know Max was a Black boy 
and you was the first star he seen sparkle his hue
VHS says fiction but i recognize them shoulders
descendent of moonwalk-glitter-glove solos
i know a bad mufucka by how the spotlight 
don’t even add much to the performance
i know Jodeci’s lost member when i see it 
Sisqo’s inspiration for Afrofuturist aesthetic
heard it’s a planet out there missin a spades partner
heard it’s a sunrise somewhere waitin to go down you
the one who taught me if you love someone
you better get on stage and make em feel 
like the only person in a packed auditorium
like the last scoop of warm peach cobbler
another Black superhero with another
electric superpower / the jig is up 


Darius Simpson is a writer, educator, performer, and skilled living-room dancer from Akron, Ohio. He believes in the dissolution of empire and the total liberation of Africans and all oppressed people by any means available. Free The People. Free The Land. Free All Political Prisoners.

[Purchase Issue 24 here.]

Ode to Powerline

Related Posts

Hall of Mirrors

November 2023 Poetry Feature: Virginia Konchan and Gabriel Spera

Gracefully we hold each other / architects and optimists / always at arm’s length like / congenital dreamers / tango masters slinkily coiled / bright candles in a hall of mirrors / whatever I propose you propose / to conquer repeating and repeating / the opposite.

a golden field of wheat

Thresher Days

The wheat wants an apology, / for taking me this long / to show my wrists / to the thresher boy. // Finally a summer where he asks how my parents are / and my jaw is ready, / stretched open so he can hear about them, / easier. // I may look different after, / I will need a new name.

People gather in protest in front of a building; a man (center) holds up a red flag

Picket Line Baby

White women give my father shaded looks./ Bringing babies to do their dirty work,/ mumbled in passing. // I am paid in jelly doughnuts / for my day on the boycott. // My dad leads my baby brother / to the front of the grocery store doors / for a meeting with the manager.