Today’s Thoughtful Thursday showcases more current voices in poetry, courtesy of poets.org’s focus on featuring Black poets in its poem-a-day offering throughout the summer. If there were ever a time to subscribe to poem-a-day, it would be now, so that you can have Black poetry pop into your inbox on a daily basis for the next few months. What fun to discover all this poetry! Even if you aren’t the biggest poetry enthusiast, this is a great thing to explore with your family, and see whether each day’s offering appeals. But if that is too much inbox flooding for you, Thoughtful Thursday is here to survey the lot and send some gems your way.
Today we feature “When Night Fills with Premature Exits” by Enzo Silon Surin, a Haitian-born, Queens, NY-raised poet, educator and social advocate, whose collection of poetry, When My Body Was a Clinched Fist (Black Lawrence Press, 2020) will be published this month. Surin is a professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College and founding editor and publisher at Central Square Press. Of this poem he writes: The poem is written in the form of questions because I am on a daily quest for the answers myself, especially as the father of two beautifully radiant sons. I wanted to express the deeply rooted exasperation and exhaustion that comes with always trying to live and build a life in the gurgle of goodbyes.”
We were drawn to “Why I Don’t Write About George Floyd” by celebrated poet Toi Derricote because the title spoke to what we at GCP have been feeling of late: the exhaustion and anxiety surrounding this tragedy, feeling a need to join the conversation but unwilling to do so without something new, noteworthy or additive to say. Derricote, who has received numerous honors and awards for her collections of poetry and literary works, presents this perspective with painfully elegant simplicity.
Share these poems with your family and enjoy.
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?
Enzo Silon Surin
Why I Don’t Write About George Floyd
Because there is too much to say
Because I have nothing to say
Because I don’t know what to say
Because everything has been said
Because it hurts too much to say
What can I say what can I say
Something is stuck in my throat
Something is stuck like an apple
Something is stuck like a knife
Something is stuffed like a foot
Something is stuffed like a body