poet: on imagining Planet X as the only safe space

by Raina J. Leon





Trump the death card.  The Joker.  The Torture Wheel.

walls rise tall

with bricks inlaid with suspended orbits

I’m packing my spacesuit and I’m taking my shit and moving to the moon

where there are no rules[i]

Monáe I hear your painted light throb star exhale to mechanized

stop my heart


unbearable peaking

beat hop through rib





packing my spacesuit and moving to dark

planet             an ice theory for this nemesis

implacable justice my scheme

if blessing comes in brown bodies surrounded in chalk

what from the necessary curse


packing my spacesuit

revolution is carving whiteness from my own flesh

Tyche’s anticolonial antimanifest antioppression but destiny



loosie suspicions

thousands of desert graves

lynching after river crossing

take me to the ice

not the water

cameras watch

but no one sees a thing

don’t look for brown skin flecks to mine

and stitch for a fancy new sunburn suit

melanin envy but shoot the bearer

rocket ember             shot liberation

moving moving

where the rooms rise to capture

and light dances in blink wink still alive

what happened to






empty seats on a rocket

countdown … 7[ii] … 18 [iii]… 16[iv] … 28[v] …  17[vi] … 25[vii] … 12[viii] … 43[ix]


[i] Reference to “Sally Ride” as sung by Janelle Monáe

[ii] Age of Aiyana Stanley-Jones when she was killed while sleeping

[iii] Age of Michael Brown when he was killed

[iv] Age of Gynnya McMillen when she was killed

[v] Age of Sandra Bland when she was killed

[vi] Age of Laquan McDonald when he was killed

[vii] Age of Freddie Gray when he was killed

[viii] Age of Tamir Rice when he was killed

[ix] Age of Eric Garner when he was killed



Raina J. Leon


                                                     contributor 2016 second edition


Raina J. León is the author of three collections of poetry, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, and sombra : (dis)locate.  She is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of LatinX arts.  She is an associate professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California and a board member of ARISE High School in Oakland.