Spring 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2013 |

Elegy with a City in It

There are men awed by blood, lost in the black of all that is awful: think crack and aluminum. Odd what time steals, or steals time: black robes, awful nights when men offed in streets awed us. Dead bodies sold news; real hustlers bled. The Post a reel for Rayful: black death, awe, chocolate city read as accumulation: the red of all those bodies. Red sometimes a dark and awful omen the best couldn't read. Death almost invented when red was the curse of men born black and lost in a drama Reagan read as war: crack vials and cash and red in our eyes and we not still with our pocket full of stones. Steel in hands, and a god-awful law aimed at stilling the red. But ambition burns, makes all red With a greed so damn real, Fattened by all that others read in the Post about how real it is in the streets. This reel is a flick that has awed fools looking for something real in bleeding streets, as if the real is only what drowns: think Black, Yusef, Moe; they

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Reginald Dwayne Betts
Reginald Dwayne Betts is the father of two sons, Micah and Miles. He is the author of the poetry collection Bastards of the Reagan Era and the memoir A Question of Freedom. Currently, he is an Emerson Fellow at New America.

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Crimson

By Reginald Dwayne Betts

There are men awed by blood, lost in the black of all that is awful: think crack and aluminum. Odd what time steals, or steals time: black robes, awful nights […]

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