Today’s poem is by Tommy Pico, a poet from Brooklyn who grew up on the Viejas Reservation outside San Diego, California.

Pico published his first epic poem in 2016, titled IRL. The poem follows a character named Teebs who is a “reservation-born, queer NDN weirdo, trying to figure out his impulses/desires/history in the midst of Brooklyn rooftops.”

Nature Poem (2017) was Pico’s second book-length poem, which continued Teebs’ story as a poet who “can’t bring himself to write a nature poem…He hates nature. He prefers city lights to the night sky…But Teebs gradually learns how to interpret constellations through his own lens.”

Pico’s poem for today is an excerpt from his collection titled Junk, just released March 2018. NPR, in their “Most Anticipated Poetry of 2018” said, “Pico hit the poetry scene hard with the first two volumes of his Teebs trilogy, which brings hyper-vernacular language to bear on issues of queer identity, the lives of indigenous Americans, and social conscience. . . . [ Junk] pops with more insight about the contemporary world than perhaps it knows.” Once again, Pico returns to Teebs and his journey with his identity in relation to “cultural loses and erasures in a changing political landscape.” It begins:


Wherever we go, needs feed and I find it harder and harder to

believe benevolence is the thing Thousands of Yazidi girls


missing and plastic fills the ocean’s mouth and the cursive of

yr name still occupies the canopy of my throat Fuel, the under-


pinning What fires your gd engine Rigor, mortis Cold as

unmoving or unmoved The opposite of music Warm in the


cold universe Molten, forming A rock becoming magma

becoming lava becoming land Land, the trauma of lava Lava


You can read the rest here.