Joel Dias-Porter (aka DJ Renegade) was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, and a former professional DJ. From 1994- 1999 he competed in the National Poetry Slam, and was the 1998 and 99 Haiku Slam Champion. His poems have been published in Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Best American Poetry 2014, Mead, POETRY, Callaloo, Ploughshares, Antioch Review, Red Brick Review, Asheville Review, Beltway Quarterly and the anthologies Gathering Ground, Love Poetry Out Loud, Meow: Spoken Word from the Black Cat, Short Fuse, Role Call, Def Poetry Jam, 360 Degrees of Black Poetry, Slam (The Book), Revival: Spoken Word from Lollapallooza, Poetry Nation, Beyond the Frontier, Spoken Word Revolution, Catch a Fire, and The Black Rooster Social Inn. Performances include the Today Show, SlamNation, on BET, and the film Slam. A Cave Canem fellow, he has a CD of jazz and poetry entitled LibationSong.


Joel Dias-Porter


My invisible ink tattoo suggests “You're never alright

until you have nothing left to hide.” Say every night
the corner dictionary dealer stares down or across you
as if you’re a crossword junkie who can't solve being
a clueless dope for dopamine, or  might be on wordless days.
Say the empire of the empirical seems to sizzle less
since the logic of lentils caused you to give up crispy dreams
of bacon, and what aroma could possibly fry the imagination
more? My silent inner twin sold the old rap records I lent him
for a white powder that made us feel cleansed but didn't leave

a trail like Comet. Out of fragrance we raced a Greyhound
to the Federal District’s dented diamond and tripped
on a scented trail of cherry blossoms. Some nights my meditation
involves shooting free throws until the cost catches up to my wrist slits.
This might sound like random dribbling in the dark, but what if god
is the logical equivalent of an optimal illusion? A circular saw
that slices pie in the sky, mostly. Pi is filled with what
is fruitfully irrational although it may also be linked by
the chain logic of fencers. Repartee would be when words cross
like swords. School rumors of me hitching rides on the back
of Pittsburgh fire trucks are irrational, but not because
I became a pyromaniac. The circumference
of cakes in the bottoms of urinals can be dissolved with pee
or solved with Pi. The variable hue invading fading photos
is how bedsheets feel filling with rivers of glee. Volta means to turn
like a Ghanaian river or maybe to roil in its currents
electrical. In an occult video my secret
tattoo turns talkative, it seldom repeats itself

trying to solve for the absolute value of P

but still winds up spilling like half-filled bottles

of lemon juice (piled on a step) about getting beat like
a reggae riddim in the name of god for nightly

wetting the bed. Maybe I was just trying to piss on

the notion of being less human due to which frequencies
of light one’s skin hides or reflects. His records reflect

that Bob Marley caught fire across the circumference
of many suns and some nights I swear
his music might be one love that will never leave me high
and dry. But even Bob couldn't hide from us that God
could be hidden in the sock drawer of man’s vanity.
Perhaps since gobs of bacon fat stopped riding
high as ganja smoke on my taste buds I haven't been all right,

and not just because I began to masturbate ambidextrously
to framed velvet paintings but maybe because hiding things
from myself left me such an absent-minded manhole
that I one day left my sanity outside on the curb
until it inflamed with yellow rain
and the city came to haul it away in a trembling truck.