Clint Smith’s Counting Descent

I’ve shared dozens of poems before and a majority of them were from one of my favorite poets- Clint Smith. Clint Smith is a PhD candidate at Harvard, author, and activist whom I admire. His poetry is both moving and comfortable to grasp so even the most fearful of poetry can appreciate his words. I purchased “Counting Descent” after its release in 2016 but I’m still going through it today. Smith’s poems reflect his personal experiences, honor his favorite authors and musicians, and illustrate the issues African-Americans deal with every day. At this moment, my three favorite poems of his are “what the ocean said to the black boy”, “Canon”, and “How to Make an Empty Cardboard Box Disappear in 10 Steps”.

In the first, Smith writes,
“they call me blue because
they don’t understand how the sky work
they call you black because
they don’t understand god work”

Damn, right? I love how each of his endings sock me in the face and leave me gasping for air.

In Canon,
“Our stars weren’t meant for
their sky. We have never known
the same horizon.”

Again, Smith speaks and pieces together pure art.

In the final,
“1) Find the scissors
2) Cut the sides of the cube
3) Attend the rally of Trayvon Martin
4) Attend the rally of Renisha McBride
5) Attend the rally of Jordan Davis
6) Attend the rally of Michael Brown
7) Attend the rally of Eric Garner
8) Attend the rally of Freddie Gray
9) Find another empty box
10) Attend the rally of _______________”

I’ve posted a screenshot of that piece before, but it slaps the shit out of me every time.

I highly recommend Clint’s book as it continuously helps me heal and recover. For only $15, maybe you’ll find the same truth as I have.