When Night Fills with Premature Exits

Is there a place where black men can go
to be beautiful? Is there light there? Touch?

Is there comfort or room to raise their black
sons as anything other than a future asterisk,

at risk to be asteroid or rogue planet but not
comet—to be studded with awe and clamor

and admired for radial trajectories across
a dark sky made of asphalt and moonshine

to be celebs and deemed a magnificent sight?

Related Poems

Black Nikes

We need quarters like King Tut needed a boat. A slave could row him to heaven from his crypt in Egypt full of loot. We've lived quietly among the stars, knowing money isn't what matters. We only bring enough to tip the shuttle driver when we hitch a ride aboard a trailblazer of light. This comet could scour the planet. Make it sparkle like a fresh toilet swirling with blue. Or only come close enough to brush a few lost souls. Time is rotting as our bodies wait for now I lay me down to earth. Noiseless patient spiders paid with dirt when what we want is star dust. If nature abhors an expensive appliance, why does the planet suck ozone? This is a big ticket item, a thickety ride. Please page our home and visit our sigh on the wide world’s ebb. Just point and cluck at our new persuasion shoes. We’re opening the gate that opens our containers for recycling. Time to throw down and take off on our launch. This flight will nail our proof of pudding. The thrill of victory is, we’re exiting earth. We're leaving all this dirt.

"I’m Rooting for Everybody Black"

—Issa Rae

Everybody Black is my hometown team. Everybody Black dropped the hottest album of the year, easy. Everybody Black is in this show, so I’m watching. Everybody Black is in this movie, so I’m watching. Everybody Black wore it better, tell the truth. Everybody Black’s new book was beautiful. How you don’t know about Everybody Black?! Everybody Black mad underrated. Everybody Black remind me of someone I know. I love seeing Everybody Black succeed. I hope Everybody Black get elected. Everybody Black deserves the promotion more than anybody. I want Everybody Black to find somebody special. Everybody Black is good peoples. Everybody Black been through some things. Everybody Black don’t get the credit they’re due. I met Everybody Black once and they were super chill and down-to-earth. I believe in Everybody Black. There’s something about Everybody Black.

Black Eye

Translated from Portuguese by John Keene

I am a black renegade
I refuse the mirror daily
Which tries to massacre me inside
Which tries to deceive me with white lies
Which tries to discolor me with its rays of light

I am a black renegade
Determined to face the system
I drum up the black without a hitch
I bum-rush the stage

I am a black renegade
I advocate a necessary darkening
I unmask any racists in the closet
I shove my foot in the door and walk in