I’m back with some poetry for you today, courtesy of The Academy of American Poets.
Now, I’m sure a lot of you have seen countless protest photos of everything going on around the world lately; I must say, some of those signs are worded a bit like poetry. After all, poetry itself is a form of self expression, put into words and sometimes using rhyme and rhythm whether spoken or spaced on paper.
Whatever the sayings come out to be, most of it is centered around black life, black culture, and black liberation… This is what’s on people’s minds, or at least in the media lately.
Personally, I know I’ve spent a little too much time online lately and so instead of a long-winded blog post for you today, I’m keeping this one short.
I’ve seen a lot more appreciation for the creative work of black people lately and this largely includes poetry. The Academy of American Poets released an anthology (a poetry collection from different authors) called Black Lives Matter and it’s available online, so that is what I am sharing with you today.
You may click the link here to go through them all, but I’m sharing just a few I enjoy below.
I am sick of writing this poem
but bring the boy. his new name
his same old body. ordinary, black
dead thing. bring him & we will mourn
until we forget what we are mourning
& isn’t that what being black is about?
not the joy of it, but the feeling
you get when you are looking
at your child, turn your head,
then, poof, no more child.
that feeling. that’s black.
think: once, a white girl
was kidnapped & that’s the Trojan war.
later, up the block, Troy got shot
& that was Tuesday. are we not worthy
of a city of ash? of 1000 ships
launched because we are missed?
always, something deserves to be burned.
it’s never the right thing now a days.
I demand a war to bring the dead boy back
no matter what his name is this time.
I at least demand a song. a song will do just fine.
look at what the lord has made.
above Missouri, sweet smoke.
I Don’t Know What Will Kill Us First: The Race War or What We’ve Done to the Earth by Fatimah Asghar
so I count my hopes: the bumblebees
are making a comeback, one snug tight
in a purple flower I passed to get to you;
your favorite color is purple but Prince’s
was orange & we both find this hard to believe;
today the park is green, we take grass for granted
the leaves chuckle around us; behind
your head a butterfly rests on a tree; it’s been
there our whole conversation; by my old apartment
was a butterfly sanctuary where I would read
& two little girls would sit next to me; you caught
a butterfly once but didn’t know what to feed it
so you trapped it in a jar & gave it to a girl
you liked. I asked if it died. you say you like
to think it lived a long life. yes, it lived a long life.
When the pickup truck, with its side mirror,
almost took out my arm, the driver’s grin
reflected back; it was just a horror
show that was never going to happen,
don’t protest, don’t bother with the police
for my benefit, he gave me a smile—
he too was startled, redness in his face—
when I thought I was going, a short while,
to get myself killed: it wasn’t anger
when he bared his teeth, as if to caution
calm down, all good, no one died, ni[ght, neighbor]—
no sense getting all pissed, the commotion
of the past is the past; I was so dim,
he never saw me—of course, I saw him.
See you Friday.