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Friday Feature: Dana Tenille Weekes


Dana Tenille Weekes is a curious creature of voice and its relationship to everything human beings do or don't do, particularly what they’re afraid to say and why. For 20 years, she weaved the worlds of politics, policy, and law in Washington, DC as an advocate who mobilized voices in various forms. Currently, she is on a one-year journey of rest—learning how to unlearn and be—a space she yearns to cultivate for Black women, especially advocates, who are held up as “strong” at the sacrifice of themselves. As part of this journey of rest, Dana is exploring her newly found voice in poetry. Her first published poems, “Where Do We Bleed?” and “Found in Prayer,” have a home at A Gathering of the Tribes. Dana is the first in her family to be born in the United States and is the daughter of Bajan immigrants. Follow her on Instagram.




swole

by Dana Tenille Weekes


i am right here, on this damn couch. not knowing if even momma knows

whereabouts of my wherewithal—shelled out a month’s mortgage, for me

and it to be in the epicenter of this dammed, bayou-ing city. stench spoiling

the signature chocolate. whatever’s left. “pleasing,” the designer said.

“neutrals can anchor any room, any space.” yeah? complicit crap. but then

again, here i am. anchored to the anchor … on repeat & repeat & repeat &


these commentators. binge-watching daddy. and my cousins i speak to

barely. one’s in canada, though. and the big brother i blew out trick candles

for year after year. and my godsons. one just born. the other is seven. eight?

and their dad, his dad, and brothers too. and the back-in-the-day beat

boxing boys rapping ‘bout my big ass lips and double-stuffed oreo. and

my homies i randomly text “i love you”—cause their joy is …


and the boyfriend who stuck his tongue in me first. and the others. even

the assholes. and my favorite teacher, mr. james. he’s retired now. and the

mailman sloshing in these bogs. and the concierge collecting his coins for

that puppy for his princess. a saint charles? and mo, vernon, keron, preston

et al. at the firm playing clark kents to most—luke cages to me. and my

partner and my son if i had a … on repeat & repeat & repeat & repeat &


my ass is swole. anchored to these cushions. and it swoles and swoles and

swoles. sttrrreeeettttttcccccchhhhhhh marked. grade 8 USDA branding,

patriotic tatting. my heart too has plummeted into these swoles. this point,

a bastion. or basin? either way, seems glacierized. but this is the dead

of summer. so, no ice. no calving mountains. just swole ass. costco-ed

cocoa-ed syrup, ssslluuurrrrppppp—momma’s sharded notes on repeat &


momma! but momma … just—just let me. just let—just—just let me

awaken to babbles and coos again. let these babbles stretch for me—

lapsing at my feet. taking me to daddy kissing my wetted cheeks in

thousands. taking me to momma knowing. her hands scooping me up

underneath her humming chin of high apple pie hopes far up in the

ssskkkkkyyyyyyyyyyyyy on repeat & repeat &



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Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Toi Derricotte, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.

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