National Poetry Month Day 29: “The Qiana Shirt, 1976, by Emilio Pucci” by Qiana Towns


The Qiana Shirt, 1976, by Emilio Pucci

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In her hair we see a psychedelic mantra
of a decade known as the We Speak
Bold-Faced Patterns epoch because names are
not unlike shirts we cover and press
the differences, a phonetic charade.
Watch how letters like collars precede
and manage dimensions, watch them march
into a history of preoccupation with self.


The letter ‘q’ without ‘u’ is not unlike wolves& half-moons & coke spoons & Rick James & disco balls & Funky town & sex & healing & breath & thump, thump, thump, thump.


Skin is as wide as bishop sleeves
as consumerism:
A favorite summer fabric
pelted Stochastic Moniker red.

She wants to tell you
a story about the time
she bought her name in a city
where seams show through to bone.

-Qiana Towns

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Qiana Towns earned a MFA from Bowling Green State University, and a MA from Central Michigan University where she served as poetry editor for the online literary journal Temenos. Her work has appeared in Milk Money, and other literary journals. She is a Cave Canem fellow and Editor for Reverie: Midwest African American Literature.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →