Dynamite: A response by J’Sun Howard

A response to Dynamite by Jenn Freeman

choreographed, conceptualized and performed by Jenn Freeman

Links Hall Co-MISSION residency encore performance, August 12-14, 2017

image: Omni Owl Productions



after Jenn Freeman


i want to write about a baptism

that hasn’t happened or will happen

when i learn darkness is a eulogy for the aftershock

of catching the holy ghost. only once

have i had chrysanthemum petals shake

loose from the grit of my spine,

unveiling locusts eating the sins

that keep me here.


how water might be predator,

a matador whose muleta is versed in the psalms

of drowning its prize, to coax a sinner

to believe in his own killing.


we don’t know sacrifice

until we die for other’s sins.


when the pastor said

has anymore lost their mother,

i wanted to raise my hand

because i don’t know if i’m her son anymore.

the way i walk to salvation – glitter-strewn

& ready to take on the apocalypse –

isn’t the commandments i should follow

in my mother’s worship.

i can only be a man, a black man

if i can genesis the universe i want to die in-

to prove heaven & eternity

are the blackest possessions god could conceive.


when i dance, it’s high praise-

o if i could ever be angel, a cloudstorm

of wings. it’s sweat that sheathes

the body a light. a witness to a body

that stows dynamite where the heart should be.

if detonated, who knows what’ll come

barreling forth naked & enkindled with galaxies-

a burning, too, be baptismal,

be saving grace.


as i spiral myself down to ashes, this hymn,

i still bow in ecstasy & glory.




i raise my hand.

i raise my hand anyway.



J’Sun Howard is a Guest Editor for PRJ.