Winter 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1994 |

Cowbell

You're how we found The Maverick Room, The Cave Yard, The Black Hole, and block parties In hard-to-find inner city neighborhoods With names like Congress Heights & Valley Green. You're The Real McCoy, What we used to teach timid beginners to hit back. When the power went out you gathered kin, A family discussion of percussion: Tambourine, vibra-slap, ratchet. We met reaching into the same pocket, Agreed a crowded one is equivalent to sin. Sticks can't harm the real you. You're what gets heard, A prayer above crowd noise & soul. Down-to-earth, hard-headed, hollow, loud. I know your weak spots. You know mine.

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Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of The Maverick Room and Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems (Graywolf Press). His work has recently appeared in Poetry, Pluck!, Paris Review, and The Best American Poetry 2015. He is a photographer and a founding member of Heroes Are Gang Leaders, and is currently visiting writer at the City College of New York.

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By Thomas Sayers Ellis

You're how we found The Maverick Room, The Cave Yard, The Black Hole, and block parties In hard-to-find inner city neighborhoods With names like Congress Heights & Valley Green. You're […]

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