Poems in July

The first of poems in July
The last of my poems in July

I usually share my collection of newly discovered poems at the beginning of each month, but these poems in July swapped places with the spoken word pieces I loved watching early on. Like I wrote about last month, poetry is a fantastic way to cope with unspeakable tragedy and suffering because it welcomes readers into a place where pain isn’t a feeling to be feared or ashamed of and everyone is allowed to connect their experiences. During the current moment of mass uprisings against systemic policing violence and inaction by governmental leadership, I find the poems in July I love the most focus on the overwhelming nature of generational loss by the State. “Assume the Position” by Jive Poetic is a piece about policing Black people and how trauma caused by police violence impacts entire communities. It’s important for all non-Black people, people of color like myself included, to remember that policing has always been a fatal threat to Black people in America for the simple reason that it was created to oppress and destroy the same group. Instances of violence and murder like in that of George Floyd’s case isn’t rare, most of us are just lucky enough to never see them with our eyes. Yesenia Montilla’s “a brief meditation on breath” is a piece that prophesized the ways Black people are disproportionately impacted by both the coronavirus and police violence. I love how the poem isn’t broken into stanzas, because the reader can skim it in one moment just as the meditation would have us feel. “Nothing” by Krysten Hill was inspired by Audre Lorde—one of our most famous and beloved Black poets—and it does Lorde justice. The almost stream of consciousness-like style of writing gives Hill space to piece together all of these traumas and heartbreaks into one poem. I love this one of my poems in July nearly the most! “Untethered” by Allison Joseph reads similar to that of a villanelle poem in that it repeats lines throughout the stanzas. As a poem about separation from a former life of marriage, Joseph makes the piece sound like a daily mantra a recent divorcée might recite to them self and I love it. The last of my poems in July is Enzo Silon Surin’s “When Night Fills With Premature Exits.” This poem reminds me of “Dear White America” by Danez Smith where they write about how Black people need to find a new planet where they don’t have to be afraid or destroyed or traumatized. Surin’s small questions about the existence of Black men in a world that wants to eradicate them are immensely profound, and I think Danez would love this one!

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