In my experience, to be a Black man in America is to be a flipped coin of jeopardy and privilege.

Each day a flat palm framing the catch.

I’ve thought plenty about the jeopardy, the weaponry of it—concrete and internalized. The aim of a nervous gun. so many newscrawls cut into noosery The decision point of a target. Carrying the thought of being killed between my shoulder blades not like a knife but like the bracing for it.

I document it because I don’t know what else to do.

But I haven’t appreciated enough the privilege of man for the heirloom miasma of Black. Nevertheless, the privilege is there. A vulture circling my soul’s slow demise. From the assumption that we keep love tucked under our tongue, to have no fear of going missing and not looked for, to unseeing Black trans women like a burial. Sometimes the shadow of privilege is so enveloping it just feels like night. An unquestioned dim we adjust our eyes to. I’ve often succumbed to the temptation to breathe into it as a normal, but also quietly as a consolation prize for feeling hunted. These identities are often combatants. And there are costs to housing inharmonious as a spine—the atrophy of the heart, failure to rest, a blindness to beauty.

The assault on my safety as a Black person has masked my entitlement as a man. In the theater of battle, I have numbed myself with the narcotic of prerogative.

This album, then, is at once exhausted witness, confession, and impossible atonement. It is a pickaxe to the stone between my selves. An attempt to reconcile the dissonance. That is, even as I shout, I also want to be the evangelism of taking up less space, the holy of the small, to be a sapling fed by the same sun under which I still might be invisible, or appear so big to the unfamiliar that I blot out the light. Causing shots in the dark.

These pieces are a vow to accept the dare of soft in hard places.

she tucks him into her kiss
hollows out the night of its frightened men who could be weapons

I want to feel a joy beyond survival. To succumb to glee.

you laugh like you know what to save golden you laugh like amber

Yes, surrender to surrender is still a language tangled in conflict.

But so is it, too, an act of war on my belief in death.