you should see him up there! seersucker cut-offs too tight
cotton shirt freshly woven & exposed belly, pink cock rocking
into a guitar made from your aunt's bones, strung with your great
-granddaddy's stretched out hair & the rope that ended him.
there are no fireworks or back up dancers, he barely sings
above a mosquito wing hum, but you can't turn away, his foot
pressed into the stage like a neck, masked in a hood of blonde curls.
wicked show! when's he's done you can't even clap, but the encore?
imagine this: just when you think the lights are going ghost,
he scans the crowd picks out the youngest brown boy within reach,
hands him a pistol, whispers
Danez Smith is a Cave Canem Fellow, Pushcart Nominee, Survivor & Black Queer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the winner of the 2014 Reading Series Contest sponsored by The Paris-American, was featured in The Academy of American Poets' Emerging Poets Series by Patricia Smith & was a finalist for the 2013 Rattle Poetry Prize. Danez is the author of 'hands on ya knees', a chapbook published by Penmanship Books. His full-length collection, '[insert] Boy
, will be published in 2014 by Yes Yes Books. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Magazine
, Devil's Lake
, The Cortland Review
, & elsewhere. Danez started writing because of slams & necessity, & placed 6th in the world at the 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam & is the 2013 Rustbelt Midwest Regional Slam Champion. Danez twerks with the best, has no time for the rest. He writes & lives in Oakland, CA. Visit iamdanezsmith.org
more by Danez Smith:
in the heaven i am betrothed to, everything is black