julian randall


A Tale of 2 Bloodz
After J. Cole

Verse 1 (The Black Comes Out)
Since a youngin’ always dreamed of being one thing
I’m a half breed my nigga
I am something that rhymes with nothing
But everything ends in nigga
Used to want a shiny chain and some Timbs
Body too small for all this blood my nigga
Give me a definition   give me a name that fits
I’m a flood my nigga
Call me a song with too many samples
Like all things about my body
You half-right   get it?

Last night I had a bad dream
That I was trapped in this body
And I asked is that really such a bad thing?

Bridge (The Half Breed Song)
I know that everything that glitters ain’t gold
I know why you look right at me when you say that
Everybody wonders what the sun looks like up close

sorry to disappoint

I’m just a collage of red
Two countries on remix
A map after it drowns

Last night I was a bad dream
I was trapped in this body
And I asked is that really such a bad thing?

Verse 2 (El Latino Dice)
Oye nos vamos finalmente
My Spanish is a drought
Crack open my tongue
There is music in the dust tambien
Pues   este chico baila como no tiene un abuela
And that’s the key my nigga
Atras de Washington Heights
Quien te enseña cuantos nombres
te robaron de su sangre?

Outro (A Repentance)
Padre perdoname    I’ve just gone astray
I renounced the blood until it was undeniable
I google translate my own skin
I push my own name overboard
perdoname     perdoname      perdoname

Biracial FAQ

Do you want to be Black or Latino?
I lost my body in translation years ago

Do you speak Spanish?
I am only fluent in repenting for not being        

How do you pronounce your name?
The blood is silent

        How do you pronounce your name?
       Like a mistranslation

           How do you pronounce your name?
          Like something destined to be whited out eventually

Is there a side of your blood you feel closer to?
Everything turns red when it gets closer to the sky

If you had to pick a side which would you choose?

If the hollow point splinters into a mosaic of ruined flesh 
which half succumbs to the genocide first?


Black Boy Speaks of Apologies

without apology you name me riot
mumble about my ingratitude
I have seen your helping hands
the history they are capable of

you recoil from me like nightfall
you grin like an exit wound
you a smoldering bouquet of demands
the “blood bellowing out”
becomes an “avalanche of roses”
something beautiful, dying
       still yours.

I seen this magic before
my body an aching song
that you hum without permission
the boy becomes a memory
I become the boy

Sorry: prefix to the body half-buried
subconscious surrender
demands a soft mouth
a tongue starved thin with retreat
makes my jaw the gate that betrayed the city

your guilt: a bright miracle
I’m just a shadow stealing shape
from where you are not
unstitching a silence
with music or a plea for mercy
Your guilt:  moon to my night sky
demanding the center but I am vast
without you

A question:  what happens
when the world knows you best
as the soil they knock off their boots?

Bop: The World is Yours

The song rides in
on a chariot of static
half of heaven is a question
nobody knows
if there will be rain
we grow    despite

The World is Yours

And we belong to us
each jaw flowering
into praise for the child
who never grew older
and we can forget
that this is a sad thing
This is what we do
to know we are not ghosts

The World is Yours

We spin until the music outweighs us
a Black girl dressed as an eclipse
scatters a dandelion with ease
and the sky is full of small prayers
yes  the rain comes
and we respond  “welcome home”

The World is Yours

Julian Randall is a Living Black poet from Chicago. He is a 2016 Callaloo fellow, Lois Morrell Poetry Prize winner and the 2015 National College Slam (CUPSI) Best Poet. He currently works as a teaching artist with the Philly Youth Poetry Movement. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Offing, Winter Tangerine Review, The Killens Review, and Pluck! A Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. He is a candidate for his MFA in Poetry at Ole Miss.




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