Dap Therapy

Mia S. Willis

thich nhat hanh says “hugging in public is a western practice”
and me and the clique slide off the edge of the earth
cackling over walking tacos in the grass
tongues cumbersome with cartoon cowboy lilt
roasting mans for tryna talk the calluses off dignity and pride

“ayo, when’s the last time a monk dapped you up?”
“ayo, how come folks say ‘western’ when they mean ‘colonized’?”

thich nhat hanh says “meditation is an eastern practice”
so me and the homies sail backward along the equator
evicting all the quiet from these temples
throats bubbling over in the roti shop
asking fam if he knows how long black been conscious of its breath

“ayo, pigs must not be pullin guns on black folk in the east.”
“ayo, ol’ dude clearly ain’t never quit his job over a hard ‘r.’”

alligator knuckles / palms worn as dancehall floor /divine lineage of touch
zen is what we name this ritual of survivor’s guilt
impermanence spurring every muscle to movement
wild how the grip be different but the message be the same
how these digits be a signal flag that niggas are still here.

“ayo, i ain’t above you. you ain’t above me.”
“ayo, we side-by-side. we together.”

Willis, Mia_headshot

Mia S. Willis is a Black performance poet from Charlotte, North Carolina. Their work has been featured in Homology Lit, The New Southern Fugitives, Narrative Northeast, Peculiar, Slamfind, and others. In 2019, Mia was named the first two-time Capturing Fire Slam Champion, a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry, the Young Artist Fellow at Chashama’s ChaNorth residency, a collaborator in Forward Together’s Transgender Day of Resilience Art Project, and a performing artist on RADAR Productions’ Sister Spit 2020 Tour. Their debut poetry collection, monster house., was the 2018 winner of the Cave Canem Foundation’s Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize and is available with Jai-Alai Books. Connect with Mia on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram (@poetinthehat).