Dream as Tiona Nekkia McClodden

Artefact: Article, ‘Tiona Nekkia McClodden: Conversations through the Archive, Part One’, edited by Gee Wesley, MoMA magazine, 02 September, 2022. 
First one’s familiar
A good-place dream
A welcome recurrer
Since twenty-sixteen

Six blocks up from the river
The last on Sansom
Almost at Hill Square
Yellow paint
One, two, three steps
Up and in
Under the awning that half-moons
Declares itself in italicised script
Baked goods, saran wrapped
Seven filter jugs, lined up on the counter
Cups, inverted, piled
Ready to flip, pour, go
International publications
Premium cigars
Imported chocolates
But, also, the only art magazines in Philly
West, or East
A section with queer journals
Dead stock, too
Going right back
Back to the seventies
The eighties
Brad, Bayard, the others
Hang out in the displays here
The wild ones
Discoverable, if you take the time to search
Come back in autumn, spring
This latest visit, those two words appear
Familiar, already
Involuntary gasp
A sharp grab
Nervous of competition
Even though the LGBTQ section
All the art magazine racks, in fact
Are currently deserted
Quick payment
Fumbling for bills
Flying out of the store
Paper bag in hand
Too fast to pack it into the backpack, neatly
Hot goods

This one’s not from the repetoire
New dream
Playing out in another country
A messy city
Loose bright graffiti, all over
But, tidy in its heart
All order
Things running just so, even if slow
A stone face, set jaw

One block down from the canal
Most of the way west on Lützow
Beyond the small library with sunshades outside
The Platz
Can feel a keen magnetism here
Words and paper again
Drawn to that glass door, kept ajar
Up steps, two
Past the welcome counter
Sharp assessing eyes, swivelling over
Right the way through the empty café
Chocolate bars, Twixes
Lined up, expectantly
Then buzzing, outside in the yard
To open another glass door
Waiting a pause, a count to ten
In, up carpeted stairs
One flight
Rounding the corner
Lockers, black, smooth
Copier angled, sitting heavy and waiting in the corner
And then
The stacks
Papers, articles, journals lining
Gloss-white shelves
Laminated signs designating
Art books and queerbooks
Card boxes
Brown, grey
Inside, newspaper ink
Black, red
Pages, yellowing
Taped together
Flimsy covers
Light in the fingers
Magazine colour turning between index and thumb
This is where Sylvia, Barbara, Luz hang out
And the others
More wild ones

It’s not her dream, somehow
Even though it’s there, here, in her mind
Doesn't square
Wonders, even, if she'd see her own reflection in the small bathroom
Or someone else's eyes, looking back
Doesn’t know this place deep down
Even though it feels like she’s been here before
Ought to know
Certain she wants to be there
Here, words wait for her
Dormant souls
Books that are becoming dead
Slowly, inevitably
She wants to close her eyes again
Even if she misses her stop
The train, rushing on
Convinced, for a moment, that every dive under
Can land her on a different street
Geographically unconfined
Coming to
With the knowledge of precisely where to go
Inner map
Homing in on those voices
The wildness of before
Calling her