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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

The Struggle

Makalani Bandele

Makalani Bandele
Prayer Meeting
we go down on one knee, and prayer goes up
for those across the street
in kelly ingram— predators, waiting.
is there no bottom to this darkness
in white? the ruby-red to crimson irritation
betraying an endemic vulnerability to sun.

stepped in the water and the water was cold,
god gonna trouble the water.

nobody wants to suffer or bleed.
we each having our own private gethsemane,
considering the cattle prod’s jolt, dogs’ bite,
and high pressure hoses. but
it is at night,
when they like lycanthropes shift
into sheets and hoods, that death comes
like the fulfillment of a prophet’s dream.

chilled my natural body but didn’t harm my soul,
god gonna trouble the water.

good book under some arms,
but in every heart, mind, and eye
beholding advance of alabama state
hate. we have faith, had it
before we landed these shores: had to
to be here.

you got to wade in the water,
god gonna trouble the water.

Makalani Bandele is a Louisville, KY native. A member of the Affrilachian Poets and a Cave Canem fellow, his work is forthcoming or can be found in print or online in literary magazines and journals such as Sou’wester, Barely South Review, The New Sound, Louisville Review, The Platte Valley Review, and Prime Number Magazine. He is a 2012 and 2013 Pushcart prize nominee, Ernest Sandeen Poetry Prize and Literary LEO 1st Prize in Poetry winner. Hellfightin’, published by Willow Books in 2011, is his first full-length book of poems.


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