from Nature Poem

Tommy Pico


oh, but you don’t look very Indian is a thing ppl feel comfortable saying
to me on dates.

What rhymes with, fuck off and die?

It’s hard to look “like” something most people remember as a ghost,
but I understand the allure of wanting to know—

Knowledge, or its approximate artifice, is a kind of equilibrium when
you feel like a flea in whiskey.

I used to read a lot of perfect poems, now I read a lot of Garbage

by A. R. Ammons

the old mysteries avail themselves of technique.

It’s disheartening

to hear someone say “there’s no magic left” bc I love that YouTube of Amy
Winehouse singing “Love Is a Losing Game” at the Mercury Prize Ceremony
and yesterday I overheard that Brooklyn means “Broken Land”—there aren’t
many earthquakes in the city, but there’s the fault line of my head.

Pain is alienating, but blue breath breaking on a voice is the magic
that makes ppl believe.

What, I learn to ask, does an NDN person look like exactly?

Tommy “Teebs” Pico is the author of IRL (Birds LLC, 2016), Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017), Junk (forthcoming from Tin House Books), and the zine series Hey, Teebs. He was the founder and editor in chief of birdsong, an antiracist/queer-positive collective, small press, and zine that published art and writing from 2008–2013. He was a Queer/Art/Mentors inaugural fellow, 2013 Lambda Literary fellow in poetry, and a 2016 Tin House summer poetry scholar. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn where he co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub. @heyteebs