‘Today I Told Donald Trump’ New Poetry By Erica Dawson

From Her Collection When Rap Spoke Straight To God

September 19, 2018  By Erica Dawson

Today I Told Donald Trump

the story of a woman. How the skies

came out of her wherever. Spacious skies.

Dark skies. Grown woman skies. Coalsack at this

time of the month spreads deep. That kind of K

you see in Crux, that’s her. The bloody new

moon, her. Yessir, you’re going to have to swing

a huge dick if you’re going to hit it.



came out of triumph. Trump (verb): play a trump

on; win a trick.


Tonight, I’m running skies

through my sewing machine, connecting this

evening to morning, hand stitching a K

for force. It isn’t dark enough. My new

windows need blackout shades.


Tonight, the swing

of things. Tonight, okay, if any world

were new. Ever. If swinging skies were spume

preserved in amber. If Trump.

If even this—


at a bar, a man says, Love the hair, says it’s

the best hair, baby.                 I’m Republican

but would totally go liberal for you;


at a gas station, a man’s Damn girl, those tits

knocks me into the pump and I, too, can

be machine. Shudder. Waiting for use. Tick.               Queue.


When I was young, in our basement, where Africa

hung on the wall, my parents danced to Isaac Hayes’s


Hot Buttered Soul. I insisted its real name,

Hot Monkey Love, was better. Lil’ bit racist.


It happens. So I tell myself.


One time, Dad tried

to race a smoke on the side of the house he thought

we couldn’t see, maybe hoping the wind

would wash off the smell of a cop’s night shift, maybe

refill the sockets of his knocked-out teeth.


From When Rap Spoke Straight To God: A PoemCourtesy of Tin House Books. Copyright © 2018 Erica Dawson.

Erica Dawson
Erica Dawson
Erica Dawson is the author of two previous collections of poetry: The Small Blades Hurt (Measure Press, 2014), winner of the 2016 Poets’ Prize, and Big-Eyed Afraid (Waywiser Press, 2007), winner of the 2006 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Bennington Review; three editions of Best American Poetry; Crazyhorse; the Pushcart Prize XLII: Best of the Small Presses; Virginia Quarterly Review; and numerous other journals and anthologies. She is an associate professor at University of Tampa, where she also directs the low-residency MFA program.

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