Woodland Pattern Book Center is happy to present Shift: Guest Curators from the LGBTQ Community, a series of readings, performances, and exhibitions curated by local LGBTQ artists and focused on sex and gender diversity in the contemporary arts.
Danez Smith is the winner of a 2014 Ruth Lilly/Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He is the author of [insert] boy (2014, YesYes Books). He is a Cave Canem, VONA, and McKnight Foundation Fellow. His writing has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Beloit Poetry Journal, Kinfolks & elsewhere. He is a founding member of the multi-genre, multicultural collective Dark Noise. Danez placed second at the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam. He holds a BA from UW-Madison where he was a First Wave Urban Arts Scholar. He lives in Minneapolis, MN.
Guest curator Freesia McKee is a Milwaukee poet and nonprofit worker. Her writings have appeared in the Huffington Post, Outrider Review, Gertrude, Painted Bride Quarterly, and other venues. Freesia is a contributing writer to the PDXX Collective. Freesia has a BA in Gender and Women’s Studies from Warren Wilson College.
not an elegy for Mike Brown
I am sick of writing this poem
but bring the boy. his new name
his same old body. ordinary, black
dead thing. bring him & we will mourn
until we forget what we are mourning
& isn’t that what being black is about?
not the joy of it, but the feeling
you get when you are looking
at your child, turn your head
then, poof, no more child.
that feeling. that’s black.
think: once, a white girl
was kidnapped & that’s the Trojan war.
later, up the block, Troy got shot
& that was Tuesday. are we not worthy
of a city of ash? of 1000 ships
launched because we are missed?
always, something deserves to be burned.
it’s never the right thing.
I demand a war to bring the dead boy back
no matter what his name is this time.
I at least demand a song. a head.
a song will do for now.
look at what the lord has made.
above Missouri, sweet smoke.