Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: “Love of My Flesh, Living Death” by Lorna Dee Cervantes

after García Lorca

Once I wasn’t always so plain.
I was strewn feathers on a cross
of dune, an expanse of ocean

at my feet, garlands of gulls.

   Sirens and gulls. They couldn’t tame you.
You know as well as they: to be
a dove is to bear the falcon

at your breast, your nights, your seas.

   My fear is simple, heart-faced
above a flare of etchings, a lineage

in letters, my sudden stare. It’s you.

   It’s you! sang the heart upon its mantel
pelvis. Blush of my breath, catch
of my see—beautiful bird—It’s you.
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Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: “the salve trade” by Fred Moten

all down on perdido street, from san juan

to inglewood, up on that bridge, up where the
soul trees grow by soul, dance to fantastic
information while we kick off the modern world.

the whistle sounded good like a kiss on a train.

a track below us in the cabinet in the tunnel

under the water. a steady boom to lift us out.
nobody lived, not without digging, but he wore

that ivory waistcoat and we loved to see that shit.

I love my people too much to be around them
at school. I slip underneath the cinema tree, move myself
in half, dance to fray, write a paper on the salve trade.

the big fat women and the heliocopters they bring

with them to watch them and their kids. whole long-

ass sheets of improper names. we refused to act right
at the hospital and I was right with ’em. at the wrong time

I started reading my paper and ash flew from their big ol’
legs. we rub down and dance everyday at the broke clinic

and I was right with ’em. johnny griffin turns to this long
burning to pray for fire. make a song about the sky they stole.

if you ain’t gon’ get down then what you come here for?

what they bring your ass up in here for if you ain’t gon’
tear shit up? if you wasn’t just as happy to be here as you was

to come then what you gon’ do, simple motherfucker? the salve trade

Via Poetry Foundation

Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: “Evolution of My Block” by Jacob Saenz

As a boy I bicycled the block
w/a brown mop top falling
into a tail bleached blond,

gold-like under golden light,
like colors of Noble Knights
’banging on corners, unconcerned

w/the colors I bore—a shorty
too small to war with, too brown
to be down for the block.

White Knights became brown
Kings still showing black & gold
on corners now crowned,

the block a branch branded
w/la corona graffitied on
garage doors by the pawns.

As a teen, I could’ve beamed
the crown, walked in w/out
the beat down custom,

warred w/my cousin
who claimed Two-Six,
the set on the next block

decked in black & beige.
But I preferred games to gangs,
books to crooks wearing hats

crooked to the left or right
fighting for a plot, a block
to spot & mark w/blood

of boys who knew no better
way to grow up than throw up
the crown & be down for whatever.

Via Poetry Foundation