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“You, Reader” [by Major Jackson]

So often I dream of the secrets of satellites
and so often I want the moose to step
from the shadows and reveal his transgressions,
and so often I come to her body
as though she were Lookout Mountain,
but give me a farmer’s market to park my martyred masks
and I will name all the dirt roads that dead-end
at the cubist sculpture called My Infinity,
for I no longer light bonfires in the city of adulterers
and no longer smudge the cheeks of debutantes
hurriedly floating across the high fruit of night,
and yes, I know there is only one notable death in any small town
and that is the pig-farmer, but listen, at all times
the proud rivers mourn my absence, especially
when, like a full moon, you, reader, hidden behind a spray
of night-blooming, drift in and out of scattered clouds
above lighthouses producing their artificial calm,
just to sweep a chalk of light over distant waters.

from The Absurd Man by Major Jackson. NY: Norton, 2020. Major Jackson chose the poems for The Best American Poetry 2019.

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For Summer: Poems by Latina/o/xs: Roberto Carlos Garcia

Down these mean streets, 2017, Roberto Carlos Garcia

 from Mixtape for City Kids from Dysfunctional but Happy Families, Kids Like Me
                                        (a new form )
by Roberto Carlos Garcia 

When the light from that moon spilled
out of your mother’s belly, I tell you,
you were smiling then. We need a name:
but we can’t call this Menace to the Hood
or Boys in Society or no shit like that. You
have been born into a world. Look around.
See that black boy over there running scared,
his old man got a problem & it’s a bad one. Mami?
Even though she don’t have a job, Mami still
works hard. The last 23 years of her life have been
spent teaching a poet & killing generations
of cockroaches with sky-blue plastic slippers.
But these are the people who will love you
with the same love they received, or hopefully
better.  You will have enemies too. My enemies
ride jets to parties. They use words like casualties
to speak of murder. Yes, you’ll survive. Look at me.
I’m shocked too, I’m supposed to be locked up too,
you escape what I escaped you’d be in Paris
getting fucked up too. My father said…surviving
one thing means another comes & kills you.
He’s dead, & so, I trust him. I know this isn’t much.
But I wanted to explain this life to you, even if
I had to become, over the years, someone else to do it.
The miracle of Jesus is himself, not what he said or did
about the future. Forget the future. I’d worship someone
who could do that. Then, slowly, Lo is fo e ri bari
Lo is fo e ri bari  love is for everybody Love is for
every every body love  love love everybody love.

IMG-1803Poet, storyteller, and essayist Roberto Carlos Garcia is a self-described “sancocho […] of provisions from the Harlem Renaissance, the Spanish Poets of 1929, the Black Arts Movement, the Nuyorican School, and the Modernists.” A native New Yorker, Garcia is rigorously interrogative of himself and the world around him, conveying “nakedness of emotion, intent, and experience,” and he writes extensively about the Afro-Latinx and Afro-diasporic experience. Roberto’s third poetry collection, [Elegies], is forthcoming from FlowerSong Press. His second poetry collection, black / Maybe: An Afro Lyric, is available from Willow Books.  Roberto’s first collection, Melancolía, is available from Červená Barva Press. His poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, The BreakBeat Poets Vol 4: LatiNEXT, Bettering American Poetry Vol. 3, The Root, Those People, Rigorous, Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Gawker, Barrelhouse, The Acentos Review, Lunch Ticket, and many others. He is founder of the cooperative press Get Fresh Books Publishing, A NonProfit Corp. Roberto holds an MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation and is the creator of the “mixtape” poem, which resembles a cento in that it is composed of lines borrowed from other poets but also includes lines from fiction, non-fiction, rap lyrics, and other forms of literature. A “mixtape” is between 50 to 100 lines long and should have at least ten original lines written by the poet. The above poem excerpt borrows lines from Reginald Dwaye Betts, Gil Scott Heron, Willie Perdomo, Aracelis Girmay, Jay-Z, John Murillo, Larry Levis, and Rumi.

For Summer: Poems by Latina/o/xs is a curated collaboration between Francisco Aragón at Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, and Emma Trelles at the Best American Poetry blog.





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THE Cart before the Horse | Renee’ Drummond-Brown

“Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and
robbery; the prey departeth not; The noise of a whip, and
the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and
of the pransing horses, and
of the jumping chariots. The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and
the glittering spear: and
there is a multitude of slain, and
a great number of carcases; and
there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:”
Nahum 3:1-3 (KJV).
Never forget negros them ol’ carts prancing before the ol’ horse and
bridling to draw up the head and
dropping down the chin and
disparaged in pure resentment about THE marching and
still IZ culturally expected, devine and
a jockstay prancing coffins through dem’ filthy woods and
back dirt-roads in prehistoric times and
one can’t beat a dead horse when they’re already down and
yes they can; IZ’ lied and
it’s sortta like an extinct animal being pranced upon and
sortta like a mammal lost in space-aged time and
a show horse gallivanting~~ 2 the tune of the processions and
fiddlers playin’ on the roof and
juggling coffins like a circus clown and
might I may add; one of the best of the best noble acts in town and
mares on elm street and
charging stallions who can’t compete with steeds and
no flags for him only them downy white sheets and
black nags marching alongside me crying after him and
equestrians gallivanting like an ugly black beauty whose deep inna sleep and
also laying in state as for waiting a prey, and
for a white sheet is a deep ditch; and
THAT strange fruit is a narrow pit and
increaseth the transgressors amongst colored men and
colored women AND
do you know how many black bodies them trojans carted off in the woods?
I do AND
Dedicated to: Ashes to ashes; dust to dust; one of the greatest shows in town!
A B.A.D. poem
Renee’ Drummond-Brown, is a poetess with experience in creative writing. She is a graduate of Geneva College of Western Pennsylvania. Renee’ is still in pursuit of excellence towards her mark for higher education. She is working on her seventh book and has numerous works published globally which can be seen in, KWEE Magazine, Leaves of Ink, Raven Cage Poetry and Prose Ezine, Realistic Poetry International, Scarlet Leaf Publishing House, SickLit Magazine, The Metro Gazette Publishing Company, Inc., Tuck, and Whispers Magazine just to name a few. Civil Rights Activist, Ms. Rutha Mae Harris, Original Freedom Singer of the Civil Rights Movement, was responsible for having Drummond-Brown’s very first poem published in the Metro Gazette Publishing Company, Inc., in Albany, GA. Renee’ also has poetry published in several anthologies and honorable mentions to her credit in various writing outlets. Renee’ has won and/or placed in several poetry contests globally and her books are currently eligible for nomination for a Black Book award in Southampton County Virginia. She was Poet of the Month 2017, Winner in the Our Poetry Archives and prestigious Potpourri Poets/Artists Writing Community in the past year. She graced the cover of KWEE Magazine in the month of May, 2016. Her love for creative writing is displayed through her unique style. Renee’ is inspired by none other than Dr. Maya Angelou; because of her, Renee’ posits, “Still I write, I write, and I’ll write!”

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Indulgence #poem #poetic prose #short prose #review #poetry collection

Skeletal fragments of coral and mollusks glued by calcite.

Limestone giving birth to grays, beige, and blue.

Your eyes as green as the grass on the dewy morning when slithering snakes were driven into the sea.

Tears on your cheeks. I wipe them with my palms.

The desire to rebuild your soul. I cannot stop it.  I am like those women who think that their naked thighs and transparent negligées can fix a broken heart. In fact, I am worse than them.  I think I can fix your soul.

I love you. Yet, my instincts are those of a simple worshiper of reality. There is no sanctity in them.

Oh, indulgence of the self, how ignorant we are.

My poetry collection Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings featured in San Francisco Book Review. 


@short-prose-fiction (Gabriela Marie Milton)

image:  Sandratsky Dmitriy; Shutterstock; [link]