Volume 10 (Fall 2015)

Darrel Holnes

Breaking & Entering

                   Kehinde Wiley, Sleep, 2008

Only beasts are supposed to hibernate.

But this brother has been lying there

for years. Truth isn't a news headline.

Between the lines lay his body, between

brush strokes

his soul ascends doing those things

portraits rarely capture,

giving life, giving face, serving.  

A black man's body

on display hangs in a museum

or above a white man's couch.

He appears wrapped in a bed sheet

covering his private parts as if

he were a sexless Christ,

as if his parts made him prey,

or as if both were one in the same.

But perhaps it's just respectful to cover

the dead or at least to cover where he was

broken into, entered by an angel who gave

him wings or by an artist who gave him

a better burial than the other brothers got,

those over there, just left on the ground.

Darrel Alejandro Holnes’ poetry has appeared in Best American Experimental Writing, Poetry Magazine, Day One, Callaloo, The Caribbean Writer, and elsewhere in print and online. He is the co-author of PRIME: Poetry & Conversation, and the co-editor of Happiness, the Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry. He teaches creative writing at Rutgers University and NYU.

On Libations: Whisky Sours are classic and a sweet comfort (despite it’s name) in sour times.