"Culture was my armor, and creation was my weapon": A Bop Poem

Self-portrait by Dominic Bradley

Self-portrait by Dominic Bradley

Bop: A Southern Gothic

Memories drift back in bits and pieces

of Dixie's sons and daughters sniffing out my weakness

Like kudzu creeping, everywhere I turned I saw

monsters in neighbors and mirrors in monsters

Still no matter how much I try to resist it

I wax nostalgic for a person who never existed

There's places I go I can't tell you about

There's things I've done I can't carry around

I need to let go

I need to let go

That feeling when my body needed no apology

and I could live a single day without them always testing me

That feeling when I didn't have to dance for acceptance

when culture was my armor and creation was my weapon

That feeling when I woke with strong faith and dry eyes

cause I reveled in the dawn, unafraid to greet the sky

That feeling when I didn't hate myself

That feeling when I could embrace myself

There's places I go I can't tell you about

There's things I've done I can't carry around

I need to let go 

I need to let go

Monsters in neighbors and monsters in mirrors

I've searched my reflection can't be any clearer

As much as my heart fairly breaks to admit it,

inside two wolves wrestle; the evil one's winning

Yeah, the whips keep on jumping, and the cotton is high

Spilling my secrets, my shame: a Southern Gothic

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Image description:

The black-and-white image is a typographic illustration of the author’s face. Two vultures sit on either shoulder. At the bottom of the image are the the words “The Messenger” in all-caps.

About Dominic Bradley:

Dominic Bradley is a multimedia artist who lives in Brooklyn. They are a facilitator and editor of Rest for Resistance, and have also written about the HALT coping strategy.