The problem was always
how to give you the specifics.
On date night we wanted to experience the radical intersections present in the city of Louisville—to find out where race, class, and landscape intertwine or separate. How do you give love to all directions of a city? Where in the South do people goo to nurture and feed one another?
no harp taught my hands the harmony
of sling and song. Unlike David it wasn’t Goliath
who fed me the fear of men.
In the bedroom Mary lets the fox out. She pets and pets it until it is silky smooth. The static in its fur pulses in her milk-white fingertips.
I carry a gun I never want to use, / Talk a lot tougher than I actually am, / But if I had to shoot or kick some ass/ I would in a heartbeat--inmates are scum, /And you can't trust them. They all want something. / They'll con you for a broken pencil stub.
His civilian Ivy league self and your marine self, or your community college self and his Ivy league self, arrive with the full force of your American positioning at the same piece of intellectual terrain.
The horses we now call the mustang—no relation to the cars my father & I would test drive but never find the money to buy—no longer need to trace their roots back to the original Spanish horses in order to be called mustangs. They just need to be wild & on federal lands. It’s comforting—not needing to prove a name to have it.
This body is an heirloom from my God who’d stay in Overtown
when he visited. A God who picked his women
from the trumpet tree. Somewhere in the Harlem of the South
is the woman who’s voice was velvet,
who’d cook so good there were saxophones in it.
The sun has a particular way of cutting
through the blinds and lighting up
the cat’s spine. That sunlight is all Satan.
The past is rust, as oxidized: whatever clings
to our conversation, back-&-forth of friends,
six pack of Miller High Life, Camel cigarettes
if we quit quitting again. Back in this town
blessed by OxyContin & black tar heroin
the coach still calls shit plays from his gridiron
Our marriage was that oak
entertainment center assembled at zero-drunk-thirty.
My father brags about his English over labneh
and zaytoun. His professor would cheer,
“This immigrant knows American
history better than you Americans!”
Three poems inspired by Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon.
As Charlotte, North Carolina has grown rapidly, its schools have become the most racially and socio-economically segregated schools in the United States.
Big KRIT brings us to Mississippi and soothes our ears with the harmonious sounds of our state’s trademark struggle.
"Love your neighbor.... Love your Latino/Latina neighbor. Love your gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender neighbor. Love your Muslim neighbor. Love your black and brown neighbors. Show love to all people around you."
As a banjoist plucked “I’m a Good Old Rebel,” I joined several Confederate reenactors resting from battle. “People ask me all the time, ‘Why are you a Rebel?’ And I say, ‘Everybody is a Rebel." But there's a darker side here, too.
As opioid overdoses skyrocket across the country, some of the highest mortality rates are in the South. In Scalawag’s debut podcast, Kat Bawden takes us inside the Urban Survivor’s Union, a support network and advocacy group practicing harm reduction for drug users.
Our opponents seek to destroy America by (having the same religious beliefs as our rural grandparents/ having a federal government). But we can save our country from this terror with (hashtag activism/ the very guns they seek to ban). That is the American way.
No swan so awkward out of water
as I was, squatly 14, heaped on the bank
like a parcel clumsily packed.
With his hair slicked back
In Louisville, from a side-walk
turned-sideline on West Broadway,
I catch my beloved
The official theme of the Hurricane Katrina anniversary was resiliency—but look around the city and there was much more at stake.
In the first days after Hurricane Katrina, he remembers facing down insurance companies, guns pointed at him by unidentified mercenaries, and mold.
When it comes to today's Republican Party, superficial changes often serve to obscure more important continuities with the country's dark past.
We need to face the tragedies of American history with a full accounting.
One of the secrets is not one any longer.
I told Esther who told Fina who told May
about a man twice my age
Miya asked a regular-looking cat with eyes cut like a death sentence/ what his skin was hungry for/ Black Boy spoke back with tongue split/ the jury decision for Pookie ‘n dem/ that one summer
I want to talk about what the storm left in its wake. I want to talk about what it means to try to repair the irreparable, about how sometimes a place is never the same and how pretending it is creates an act of incessant denial, an erasure of what was lost and what could have been.
“I saw activists throwing community block parties, voting drives, food drives — and canvassing the neighborhood for general good causes and to uplift the local residents."