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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

Section 2: The Retina Cascading

Shelagh Patterson

Shelagh Patterson
The Real on Hope
We sleep under stars
alot, know the moons
of many planets, the different colours
of galaxy skies, the edge of
verse where words ripple
into song like matter bursting into
lux & lumen, lucere, luna, llug,
electromagnetic rays that flood
the retina cascading
sight            into possible.
If you believe a number can be
put to that brilliance,
meaning if you believe in vacuums and life
without breath (silly Cartesians) we give you
two hundred ninety-nine
million seven hundred ninety-two
thousand four hundred fifty-eight
meters per second—our hearts.
Shelagh Patterson was born and raised in Brooklyn. She is a poet, scholar, and activist with an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from CUNY Hunter College and a PhD in English: Critical and Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She was a recipient of the Bronx Writers’ Center’s Literary Arts Fellowship, a Cave Canem fellow, and a Scholar/Artist in Residence at the Urban Issues Institute at Essex County College. Her recent projects include being the humanities partner for JACK, an arts center in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and writing an afterschool theatre arts curriculum for the City of Newark. Her poems have appeared in anthologies, newspapers, magazines, journals, experimental theater, bureaucratic documents, and a feature film. Currently an Assistant Professor of English at Montclair State University, she lives in Newark, NJ.



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