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

Kimberly Reyes


We’re Going to Save Us

“God put me on Earth to do what I did. He made me.”

Samuel Little

 

“African-American, Native American and Alaska Native women die of pregnancy-related causes at a rate about three times higher than those of white women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.”

Roni Caryn Rabin

The New York Times

 

“I shout down sirens

They bring no safety”

Danez Smith

 

His name is smallness / his deeds /

small.

 

He hungered / feasted

silence / screams

 

we hear it, though

 

a subaltern

 

echo /

 

yelping / of dogs / of men / the man / and flame / and belts

unbuckling / shame / and prayer / and breath /

and hair /

and churches /

and shrapnel / bricks / over fountains /

counters / and sitting / a waiting /

 

a wet / the crimson / the soil / the lash / the bracing

the warm / the opening / the eyes / the release

 

we are still /

we are memory

we are silent chorus

we are still. we are still

 

 

smaller /

 

93 plus— / pre world / no armor / no more /

 

we are our unborn / we are /

 

our

 

we are us / we are directing / out /

it’s our emergency, only

our

exit /

our mercy


Megastars

“Perhaps we were Americans when we did not resist our bodies being traded, our wombs being assaulted, and our bent backs and our hands being bloodied… I do not know if I’m still three-fifths of an American, as my ancestors were written into the U.S. Constitution. Or fully American. Or not American at all.”
—Ibram X. Kendi
“Am I American?”

What would they think? Stardust invaders
deciding, for supremacy, deciding
who are the Real, who are alien?

From afar
it’s pretty and clear,
and perhaps, in sonar

the sound, vision,
the jazz, hand to heart

what I am
all that I am

the we

started
here

trauma chains to wood
ports, salt, rice

the blocks, the pitches,
the mutation,

perhaps not entirely
perhaps not mostly

I am the construct of race
I am a DNA scar tissue
a warning coloration*

that may,
in all likelihood

*increase the initial probability of attack from predators.

I see who we are, tongues out,
backs bent,
the here here
earth beneath our feet.

And for this reason
do not fear
the unknowing who
they will see.


“Indian” Summer in San Francisco

Sometimes I think I never really lived here – *poet*

You didn’t – Tongo Eisen-Martin

 

the sun burns loudest

when it’s now

 

happiest hour

everywhere-time

 

illuming caravans, shopping

carts, baby doll-dented heads,

 

a whiskey-stained wedding album,

golden, fossilized baby shoes grasping a tie

 

to the edge of humanity,

the 8th marker at Ocean Beach,

 

to watch the last dinosaurs

and what a crow carries under

 

its wings, secrets

it has on the wind—

 

an ashen woman, quiescent,

a carton of Lucerne milk

 

toasting in the already cruel

elements, a spoiling

 

a raised glass—their newest

Dogpatch beer

 

gardens and sand

do not answer to chronology

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Kimberly Reyes has received fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, CantoMundo, Callaloo, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in Ireland, the Munster Literature Centre, the Prague Summer Program for Writers, Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Columbia University, San Francisco State University, and other places. She is the author of the poetry collections Running to Stand Still (Omnidawn) and Warning Coloration (dancing girl press), and her nonfiction book of essays Life During Wartime (Fourteen Hills) won the 2018 Michael Rubin Book Award. A second-generation New Yorker, Kimberly currently lives in Ireland as a Fulbright fellow studying Irish Literature and Film at University College Cork.



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