We Don’t Die

Featured Art: “Candid Sampler” by Amy Pryor

Winner of the NORward Prize for Poetry; selected by a panel of past contributors

By Darius Simpson

we second line trumpet through gridlock traffic.
we home-go in the back of cadillac limousines. we
wake up stiff in our sunday best. we move the sky.
we escape route the stars. we moonlit conspiracy
against daytime madness. we electrify. we past
due bill but full belly. we fridge empty. we pocket
lint. we make ends into extensions. we multiply
in case of capture. we claim cousins as protection.
we extend family to belong to someone, we siblings
cuz we gotta be. we chicken fry. we greased scalp. we
hog neck greens. we scrape together a recipe outta scraps.
we prophecy. we told you so even if we never told you nothin.
we omniscient except in our own business. we swallow a
national anthem and spit it out sweet. make it sound like
red velvet ain’t just chocolate wit some dye. we bend lies.
we amplify. we laugh so hard it hurts. we hurt so quiet we
dance. we stay fly. we float on tracks. we glide across
linoleum like ice. we make it look like butter. we melt
like candle wax in the warmth of saturday night liquor sweat.
we don’t die. we dust that colonies couldn’t settle. we saltwater
city built from runaway skeletons. we organize. we oakland in ’66.
we attica in ’71. we ferguson before and after the camera crews we
won’t die we won’t die we won’t die we won’t die we won’t

Darius Simpson is a writer, educator, performer, and skilled living room dancer from Akron, Ohio. His work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, American Poetry Review, Crab Creek Review, and others. Darius believes in the dissolution of empire and the total liberation of all Africans by any means necessary.

Originally appeared in New Ohio Review 29.

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