Jim Crow, Rock Star
Danez Smith
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, Ploughshares, Devil's Lake, The Cortland Review, Anti-, & 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