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mantras & monsters:
how to be one with the universe

a. adenike phillips

After the arrest of Sherita Jackson, Black mother, Atlanta Black Star, October 22, 2019



black women, you must practice

yoga.  become familiar

with every pose. it could


be good for your health, it could

save your life.  why not try

the sphinx position? lie flat


on your stomach, lift your head

as high as you can. breathe in,

breathe out, to the count of four.


feel free to modify as needed.

if your hands are handcuffed

behind your back, breathe.


as you scream for someone

to notice, breathe in & out.

as rivulets of sweat roll


down your back,  as your

daughter screams for you not

to die. please mommy, no mommy


please! open your heart up

as your head is pushed

further into the dirt, feel


your connection with the earth,

breathe. resist exhaustion,

resist identifying the cop


who did muscle you, who did

flank & throw you like a rebellious

calf. now be one with the universe



get off of me with your weight 

i am one hundred and ten pounds



today i can no longer

bathe in the benefits

of black-eyed peas & greens


rebuke the omens of oceans

dissolve myself into myself

never to gain the freedom


of wings. tame my teeth for the hunt

only to become the hunted.

today i will become seismic


grow like alice & blow out

the roof, my tendrilled hair

pricking the clouds, them sucking


up all that product.       /no    wait   i/

need to be an asteroid, one

gil scott, fannie lou & t’challa


could love, because i was the first

atom, first photon

to enter the darkness, first


whisper of god. i got


swag, making deep impact,


forcing people to higher ground.

today i beckon black girl

asteroids to come pick their


one-hundred-and-ten-pound mommas

off the ground, peel the cops off 

their backs, uncuff their hands,


unloose the flowers of their

wombs. black mommas will

become asteroids, refuse


to be identified or branded

by the country that named them

menace.         an asteroid can be                                                                                            


called anything it wants


sherita   /   sandra   /   breonna


they are legions of names being


silenced by this tinseled time.

ida was the first asteroid

to have a moon,  i will have two,


grow a full one hundred

and ten miles wide, a chondrite

ancient, dark,  made of clay


& silicate rock.  scientists

say the asteroid that wiped

out the dinosaurs was only  


seven and a half miles wide      

just image the shock when

i hit with all my hips & ass.



imagine i let t.rex call for backup

a. adenike phillips_HeadShot-35 Close up.png

a. adenike phillips

a. adenike phillips (she/her) is a Black, feminist poet and NJ native. Her writing interrogates injustice through the microlens of the natural world. She participated in AWP’s Writers to Writers mentorship program and is working on completing her first chapbook. When not writing, she can be found in the garden digging for divine inspiration.   Her work has appeared in Black Fork Review and is forthcoming in Gulf Stream Magazine. 


Twitter: lineandmetaphor

IG: adenikepoet

FB: adenikepoet

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