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ORIGIN STORY — Destiny Hemphill

on June 24 | in Poetry | by | with No Comments

here, before the word, there was the world & the world was flesh & the flesh was dust. dust not ash. ash be the words in your mouth. words be the rot between your teeth. here, a woman whose belly is filled with fire & whose name means cry-cry offers herself as vessel for you to ascend. here, you come with only your breath & body & your language to call your own. here, they called for you when mercury was recalling itself, so, here, they did not understand you when you arrived. not your body nor your language. here they said your tongue sounded funny. they said you sounded heavy. here, you gave up your language to be loved & learned another one. a dead one. one in which you tried to name ghosts your lover. beseech them “please love me.” which in this dead tongue means something like “please i will suffer for you.” which more idiomatically speaking means “call me yours. make me yours.” an invocation to be possessed by passion. passion from the latin word for suffering, passio. i pray: may you find this suffering, i mean offering of love acceptable in your sight. an invocation to belong. as in you know where you came from, but you don’t know where you belong. as in you want to belong to them. as in you want them to belong to you. as in to be longing for them. isn’t that what it means? to be possessed? here, you are taught that love & belonging & possession are the same. here, you have to unlearn that shit. here, you are taught ghost & lover are the same. here, you have to unlearn that shit. after all these words sit as lumps in your throat after you hear the soft gold in his throat that is not for you, but for her. spill out his mouth. as he lies in your bed. after you try to turn your mouth into an urn for this language. after you try to turn your heart into a graveyard for the ghost lovers. give them a comfortable place to roam & wander. because here, you came with only your breath & body & language to call your own & plenty of dead things that are not yours to carry & you can’t let any more dead live in you. here you wonder how you can carry so much but feel so empty at the same time. here you name this emptiness loss. here, your inheritance is of dispossession. your genealogy is of loss. here you are trying to figure out how melancholia can map your way back home. here is not your home. here you have to search again for your prayer language. a language that makes you feel holy even when you do not feel whole. here is your renunciation. & here is your return . this is no longer about how you carry, but how you know you can’t carry it no more. this is about how you don’t feel guilty about that, you don’t feel as though you should do more. break more. here is your renunciation. & here is your return. here is your return. here is your return.
 
 

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Destiny Hemphill is a soul here to learn the arts of love and black (womxn) magick. She is a recent graduate of Duke University, where she double majored in Literature and African & African American Studies. Her poem “What You Ain’t Gonna Do” has been featured on the platforms Button Poetry and Blavity. She writes poetry because she needs it.

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