For many people of the Black diaspora, these times are not unprecedented. What do we do with these times?
In Tracie Morris’ haiku, in the third line, “lower helicopter,” is juxtaposed against the first line, “Oppressive June heat.” Is it a rescue or the end? Is this a medical helicopter or a military one?
Then, there is surprise and arrival in Steven Willis’ “John 3:16 Makes an Appearance,” whereby John 3:16 appears on a myriad of objects so that it is “Then again. Begotten/during the hardest times/as the only sign/you still believe.” The repetition of “then again” and “as” provide a generous and feverous energy, the energy of prayer, perhaps, the energy of hope while Willis’ spoken delivery slows the poem and shifts the mood of the poem to near-solemn, to near-defiant at the end.
In Marcus Jackson’s “Impermanence and Thirst Among Infinite Appointments,” there is a musing on the artifice of labor, culture, and social decorum. Yet, the most striking connection is the retake on “infinite” at the close, “in a modest production soon known/ for forcing all in its vicinity toward celebrating/ the impermanence of our radiance.” This radiance appears under review and yet the line, brightly in its own stanza, “the impermanence of our radiance,” takes on new life, is a beautiful transference all on its own – vivified.
This is the inaugural issue of Black Poetry Review. Black Poetry Review is an online literary journal of poetry written by poets of the Black diaspora. It is free.