Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Two Poems, Darius Simpson


contaminated river water bottled for profit and loss of life 
or the process by which genocide fashions prison bars 
out of indigenous languages.

sample sentence:
were it not for colonialism Africa would be worth its weight
in gold instead of bloodshed; war is human; genocide is european.
see also: Guam, Puerto Rico, Hawai’i

the process by which minding another country’s business 
inhibits that country’s ability to build generational health 
an interference during a game where the loudest bomb sets 
the rules and refuses to play by them.

sample sentence:
Africans would have won more wars against colonizers
but imperialism made diplomacy a lucrative cover-up for exploitation.

a system in which there are workers and people who own workers 
slavery by any other name still wakes you up at 5am
drenched in sweat from a nightmare about forgetting to clock in.

sample sentence:
if you peek behind capitalism’s curtain you see a person who is less
than 10% a person holding a whip shaped like a rental agreement telling a stage full 
of longshoremen when to use the bathroom.
someone committed to humanity rooted in understanding 
freedom is non-negotiable; a person who has decided 
that living is worth dying for.
see also: Assata Shakur, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jalil Muntaqim

sample sentence:
you can throw a rock over a prison wall
and a revolutionary will throw it back with a love letter attached.

a would-be revolutionary grappling with capitalist 
obligations and colonial control of printing presses..

sample sentence:
liberation is for everybody and the poet is just one of the many 
everybodies see also: June Jordan, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Jamil Al-Amin

when a strong wind pretending to be a steam roller 
meets a people who cannot be flattened 
the process by which chains are broken
and the people who owned the chains
and made the chain uniforms
and invested in the stock market of chains
and built the chain-making factories
must answer for their crimes.

sample sentence:
liberation called Africa with the americas on 3-way 
apartheid survivors started whispering about tapped oil lines 
the call dropped somewhere over a 1989 atlantic ocean.

an empty mason jar you fill with lightning bugs to guide the 
masses or pennies you collect in exchange for your soul.

sample sentence:
i submitted this poem to a journal that values diversity but they 
spent two years deliberating if off the pigs was literal or figurative.


burnt wooden window panels make for opaque daydreams 
downtown is a hell of a commute when morning fog wreaks 
stench of hot coals and lighter fluid steam hovers over 
traffic employees of the capitol building were left fuming
law says police protect capital by any force senate 
swore on a bible to become state property tiki torch 
mobs breach barricades with relative ease turns out 
white supremacy is palpable or class struggle is 
rooted in comparative safety
how can i make rulings on the state of this country
if i still have to feel the impacts of the state of this country 
my uncle warns me about the dangers of bacon grease
i take this to mean we don’t praise pigs or blood pressure is 
both fragile and sacred and we don’t waste it on people 
who exchange their identity for utility belts and flash bangs 
black cops aren’t safe at block parties after dark
black cops conceal badge numbers with familial ties to street names 
there’s a joke about occupation in the cooler next to the hennessy 
black politicians move across town in order to finally make an impact 
black politicians share bathroom breaks with [former] klan members 
there’s a joke about contradictions on the ballot this year
there’s a joke about democracy in the awkward 
silences between police helmets and confederate flags
there’s a joke about allegiances flapping in the hallway 
collecting dust on the top floor of the courthouse
there’s a joke about cotton in the jail cell below the judge’s gavel 
swaztikas make amerikkka take a hard look at its bloodline 
political theater don’t start til we believe in cheap magic tricks 
revolution don’t start til we stop believing in border patrols there’s 
a joke about job security during a global pandemic scattered on 
scraps of paper along the evacuated senate floor
we can’t mention grammatical differences between capital & capitol 
without mentioning the murder rate of empty congressional seats.

Darius Simpson is a writer, educator, performer, and skilled living room dancer from Akron, Ohio. He received his BA in Political Science from Eastern Michigan University and his MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from Mills College. Darius was a recipient of the 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship.​ He hopes to inspire that feeling you get that makes you scrunch up your face after a good bite of  homemade Mac N Cheese. Darius' poems have appeared in POETRY Magazine, The Adroit Journal, American Poetry Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and others. 

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