Contemporary black poets complement MAI’s project by bringing another lens to bear on structural racism and violence, articulating these lived effects through art. This excerpt is from “summer, somewhere,” by poet Danez Smith, in which the poet imagines an afterlife for black boys who are victims of police brutality and white supremacy.
history is what it is. it knows what it did.
bad dog. bad blood. bad day to be a boy
color of a July well spent. but here, not earth
not heaven, boys can’t recall their white shirt
turned a ruby gown. here, there is no language
for officer or law, no color to call white.
if snow fell, it’d fall black. please, don’t call
us dead, call us alive someplace better.
we say our own names when we pray.
we go out for sweets & come back.
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