is an apple pussy
as a wormhole
meaty meat and
never any seeds’
-from “Frieda Kahlo to Diego” or “the ways my body feels empty sometimes”
Oh My God. ‘Use Me’ by Bill Withers just came on while I was starting to write this. This is important to point out, for that is exactly how I feel about Jamila Woods’ work. She uses me as a reader so well, using language that is complex in design and brilliantly human in emotion, language that is intellectual & inventive in the same breath that is of the neighborhood, familiar, & a different kind of innovative. Jamila’s writing pulls us part, spreading us wide and showing us the map that was been living on our skin, leading us on a journey to wherever her brilliant mind sees fit. Her explorations of race, sex, gender, the body, and all her touches become queen’s gold, but the accessibility to her work, despite its ability to exist in and shatter academia, throws the gold out the window into the hands of the people. Jamila takes her skills from the page to the stage effortlessly, performing sometimes with a breathtaking subtlety and sometimes with fierce and toothy theatricality, but the best representation of her transferrable fierceness is in her singing & songwriting. Jamila is one part of Milo & Otis, a Chicago based band that is making wonderfully fresh, undeniably funky, and tear jerking music in one hand & twerkfest anthems in the other. Her versatility as a songwriter is only strengthened by her skills as a poet & playwright (check out her theatre works, they are so outer space fly it’s ridiculous), the music hits every level you need it to, making even the most stubborn of stones find something to shake in place of hips. And Jamila’s Voice? CHILE! I come undone whenever she opens her lips for air to come out. Her voice is everything & full of disguises. At first it seems sweet and humble, until she decides to let you have it, at which time you understand that the power and glory is real. Folks, if you haven’t already, get into Jamila Woods. Get into Milo & Otis. Your soul sho won’t be disappointed.