There Is No Way Pretty Way to Write Black in 2020

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Writing is the only way I know to demand justice from an uncaring universe.

~ Dorothy Allison

Reporting (a)live from 2020/where the minutes slowly fade into the archives of a callous history/but the closure still feels a million graveyards away/I would love to write something, beautiful/a lyric about a breakthrough/a solution psalm for anarchy that has erupted both by air and at the command of enemies of my agency/but I am engulfed in headlines that highlight reversals of progress/swallowed by stories that underscore counter-clockwise movement/ three-fourths into the dawn of decade 3 of century 21/still feeling three-fifths human/...occasionally, there is treasure in pitching from a platform of peril/in the ability to tell the world, “I’m on fire” and the world to say “that’s fascinating, give us more Black misery”

Here’s a check/here’s a fellowship/here’s a segment on prime time news/here’s that award you have been entitled to that our shelves have been hoarding/give us more insight to the ‘Black experience’ and we will give you more trinkets to denote your ‘arrival’

In the interim, I write in the wilderness/looking skyward for a silver lining while the path beneath my feet/is crowded with bodies that should still be above ground/ the noise pollution hindering my clarity/is a deafening reverb of sirens

The breaking news here is the persistent breaking of my spirit/but that’s old news/an old blues verse wailed from a familiar despair

Maybe tomorrow will yield something brighter.

About the Author

Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be.