Charleston SC poetry

Articles from this Category

Retelling and the remembering

composed for the Anderson Slave Dwelling Preservation Fund Black spirits can not be absent from anything. Especially in South Carolina, where every open, abandoned space holds a family’s erased echo, and racism is embedded in every memory. We, the living, have the privilege of being restful ghosts. We haunt material things, and hold our history […]

Hope is in the listening

2020 Charleston Mayoral Inauguration poem. Read about it here. City as sorcerer and storyteller, sharp-eyed observant, holy grandmother. She’s survived 350 years because the longevity of the Lowcountry requires a special kind of magic. Today, we are witnesses to that witchcraft. Citizens of its charm. Today, she is the voice connecting her family: The tourist […]

Reflector

When will I stop seeing tired eyes after waking up next to mirrors? Why do I call the cracks on my face fault lines? How does the earth hold so much weight, so much anxiousness? When will I stop messing with my hair? When will I break free from vanity’s repetition: Look for natural light. […]

the colossal

depression and anxiety, you are not just the elephant in the room, you are the weight that holds the animal, the air shared with its shadow, the zoo that won’t release a caged mind. depression and anxiety, you are not just the elephant in the room, you are the ceiling below the sky, the mosquito […]

BLACK NUMEROLOGY (a poem for Walter Scott)

Walter Scott, I’ve watched your death hundreds of times. Recently, I counted the steps it took before the eighth shot grounded you: 13. you took 13 paces, running for your life, inline and online, the warrior stride of a 50-year-old body that died too soon. I wonder how many impressions your feet made before that […]

ambient noise

written for the Homeless to Hope Benefit Concert at sunrise, street sweepers silence the ringing filth of a late night’s vibrato. in the sneaky hours of the morning, empty bottles and parking spaces form a hushed choir, a privileged quiet, a soundtrack to the aftermath of the discord that comes with alcohol. before noon, the […]

COPY/PASTE (a spoken word poem)

… A poem about being the only black person in many spaces in Charleston. I wrote this after walking down King Street to attend a Spoleto event. I. i have always been the thing that’s not like the other – the analogue touch through digital screens, the bougie drink at a neighborhood dive, the black […]

tempo (self-portrait, part 4)

dear friends, allow me the space to re-introduce myself …

The rain.

Written for a collaboration with Chicago composer Shawn Okpebholo and baritone Will Liverman. Their version, including pianist Paul Sanchez, is on the album Dreams of a New Day. It’s also included in my book, The Birth of All Things. When the reality of racism returns, all joy treads water in oceans of buried emotion. Charleston […]

the language we learn

I. masculinity doesn’t have to be toxic, but some men choose to put poison on their tongue. foaming at the mouth before flinging unholy thoughts into action. hungry for prey, licking their lips as biting words draw blood. women do nothing to feed this venom. porn and pop culture evolved from paper cuts to pixels […]