“Past tense speaks a firefly night” by Janet Barry

Past tense speaks a firefly night

when we went to the outdoor concert that night
love
                                           light
                     dusky
                                                                                trees
                              love
 picnic
                                                         grassy
                              blanket
                                                                                 love
when we went to the outdoor concert that night

Janet Barry
5/25/2016

me, at Mom Egg Reading

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Three Skinnys in May by Maura Alia Badji

That Snowy Day

Tamir Rice could have been my son, big for his age,
same smooth dimpled brown cheeks.

No!
Haloed
In
Red
No…
Another
#DeathSentenceWhileBlack,
Assassinated.
No!

Big for his age, same smooth dimpled brown cheeks,
Tamir Rice could have been my son.

***

When a Would-be College Suitor Called Me Mary,
My Godmother Veola Blew a Fuse

Don’t let nobody call you outside your name.
Choose
Preservation
Deflect
Denial
Choose
Lineage
Defy
Erasure
Choose
Don’t let nobody call you outside your name.

***

Ezelle Considers Her Crazy-Quilt Past

Ezelle doesn’t mind real pain, that gangster pain
she indiscreetly courts like homemade disaster.

Dissonance
Suits,
Contrasts.
Dependable
Dissonance,
Soothes.
Ezelle
Trusts
Dissonance

Ezelle doesn’t mind real pain, that gangster pain
she indiscreetly courts like homemade disaster.

Maura Alia Badji
5/27/2016

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“This Is Exactly What It Sounds Like” and “Mortal Thoughts on a Spring Day” by Maura Alia Badji

This Is Exactly What It Sounds Like

When doves cry where do they keep the ever-growing ache?
Pain
Crystallizes.
Disbelief
Numbs.
Pain
Humbles,
Ages.
Inescapable
Pain.
When doves cry where do they keep the ever-growing ache?

***

Mortal Thoughts on a Spring Day

If you leave, who will teach me the old pathways, Mama?
My
Thirteen-year-old
Boy
Wonders.
My
Suddenly
Tall
Son,
My…
Mama, who will teach me the old pathways, if you leave?

Maura Alia Badji
5/25/2016

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“How You Spot True Love in Deux” by Rhonda Browning White

How You Spot True Love in Deux

                             I
In the waiting room, we hold hands
                                                       cancer
                                                       scans
                                                       tests
                                                       diagnosis
                                                       cancer
                                                       labs
                                                       surgery
                                                       radiation
                                                       cancer
We hold hands in the waiting room

                             II
Believe it is not always for better or worse.
Better
smile,
laugh,
cry.
Better
believe,
trust,
love.
Better
believe it always, for worse is not better.

Rhonda Browning White
5/19/2016

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“The Skinny on Savagery” by Patricia Biela

The Skinny on Savagery

Familiar fruit dangles from tree boughs
                                                      ropes
                                                      crack
                                                      neck
                                                      bones
                                                      ropes
                                                      futures
                                                      snatches
                                                      breath
                                                      ropes
                                                      Familiar fruit dangles from tree boughs

                                                      Patricia Biela
                                                      5/17/2016

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