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Two Poems – Teré Fowler-Chapman

“Passion is everything you are coming back to you.”

Teré Fowler-Chapman is a gender fluid writer–by way of this sonoran desert | by way of the boot’s bayou. This poet is a winner of National Arts Strategies’ Creative Community Fellowship, an educator, and family man. Teré is the founder of Words on the Ave, downtown Tucson’s spoken-word reading series, curated by the city, for the city.

Nostrovia!‘s featured poet Fuck Art, Let’s Dance Issue #013, Teré is a powerful poet deeply involved in Tucson’s community.


photo by Chelsea Gleisner

“Everyone brings what they think they need. Then the rest of the city just listens,” Teré says over coffee outside Cafe Passe, the venue space used by WOTA. Our conversation is recorded by a mic-emulation app on my phone, balanced on a small pile of books between us, & framed by a consistent stream of folks recognizing Teré, asking how they’ve been & about WOTA, local poets & writers & listeners who’ve been influenced by their impact on our desert city.

“Come as you are. & as long as you’re coming from a good place, I think Tucson will respect you.”

Read the full feature interview, & dig into two poems below we’re stoked to be sharing w/ you



When I look at you
Staring back at me
I know you call me by my ancestors’ name

Sweet pile of resting bone
Carrier of the biggest smile
Worrier of the world around you

You want tell me
That you are resting over of all our names
That you are witness to all the blood
Building on the street corners
Racing to the pavement
Rising in my veins

We both know
Somewhere I am hanging
By the burn of a bullet
By the turn of a street corner
By silence

We both know
That somewhere I am living

Searching for the farthest tree
Wrapping my fingers around a raspberry
Pulling it from the earth
Placing it on my tongue

Somewhere I am
Rubbing noses with a lamb
Grasping platforms in a lake
Wrapping around laughter
Swallowing food for thought

Somewhere I am
Watching painters press out skylines on page
Pitching my truth to myself
Crafting community with my bare hands
Learning how to say my name

We both know
I am somewhere
Staring up at you
Hoping to see you shoot a star
And that you are

You are somewhere
Looking down at me
Calling me by my ancestors’ name

Sweet pile of resting bone
Carrier of the biggest smile
Worrier of the world all around you

No shooting stars tonight
There is enough you dying
Don’t you think?



My only advice to him is to remember everything. Remember the way your palms wrapped behind your back and didn’t know how to pray backwards. Remember the officer’s name. Remember the way they talked through you. Remember when you said it was your first time being arrested and he responded “really?” Remember the first poem you shot to the sky. Remember the blood rushing into your veins. Remember the moment you cried. Remember the first time you thought about being a better man. Remember the man you are already. Remember the way he questioned the white clerk when they declined pressing charges on you. Remember it was just a pack of gum. Remember you are full of forgiveness and deserve it back. Remember you love and deserve it back. Remember it was just gum and just like that. Remember it’s your city but it’s not your justice system. Remember you will fit the description whether you pick the gum up or not, whether you did it or not, whether you are guilty or not. Remember folks are being murdered these days with purchased skittles in their hands in the middle of middle class in the middle of morning. Remember they will criminalize you. Remember they will demoralize you. Remember there’s nothing cool about filling the bed they made for you. Remember to make your own bed. Remember the way you are rapped about, the way you are televised, the way you are publicized. Remember the definition of fitting in was born out of standing out. Remember to write your own story. Remember that you are a man afraid of fucking up. Remember that’s when it happens. Our men fucking up.

Before this store
Before this system
Before this pack of gum
You were here first

You are that kind of god, son

You are that kind of god.

“Ode To The Sky  Resting Above Galusha Hill Farm” + “The First” are previously published in Fuck Art, Let’s Dance Issue #013. Read Teré’s feature interview here.

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