Tag Archives: new poetry

Black History Month: Jericho Brown

Lately I’ve found less time to contribute to this blog, and this is especially frustrating during the too-short black history month. So to make up for it, I will continue to, if possible, add posts about Poets of color. But I’ve meant to feature in particular Jericho Brown, whose poetry is both unique and powerful. And he has much to say, as a poet, an African-American, a gay man, a compassionate human being. It’s worth reading an interview with him, of which this is one sample.

I’m including this ghazal because I love ghazals, and because he managed to write one that ends in prison — emblematic of so much.

(A Ghazal)



They lie like stones and dare not shift. Even asleep, everyone hears in prison.
Dwayne Betts deserves more than this dry ink for his teenage years in prison.

In the film we keep watching, Nina takes Darius to a steppers ball.
Lovers hustle, slide, and dip as if none of them has a brother in prison.

I eat with humans who think any book full of black characters is about race.
A book full of white characters examines insanity—but never in prison.

His whole family made a barricade of their bodies at the door to room 403.
He died without the man he wanted. What use is love at home or in prison?

We saw police pull sharks out of the water just to watch them not breathe.
A brother meets members of his family as he passes the mirrors in prison.

Sundays, I washed and dried her clothes after he threw them into the yard.
In the novel I love, Brownfield kills his wife, gets only seven years in prison.

I don’t want to point my own sinful finger, so let’s use your clean one instead.
Some bright citizen reading this never considered a son’s short hair in prison.

In our house lived three men with one name, and all three fought or ran.
I left Nelson Demery III for Jericho Brown, a name I earned in prison.

Jericho Brown, “Hustle” from The New Testament. Copyright © 2014 by Jericho Brown.

And if you haven’t read this poem, the poetic equivalent of a thunderstorm, you may never know that poetic lightning can strike, and it strikes twice.

Prayer of the Backhanded

By Jericho Brown

Not the palm, not the pear tree
Switch, not the broomstick,
Nor the closet extension
Cord, not his braided belt, but God,
Bless the back of my daddy’s hand
Which, holding nothing tightly
Against me and not wrapped
In leather, eliminated the air
Between itself and my cheek.
Make full this dimpled cheek
Unworthy of its unfisted print
And forgive my forgetting
The love of a hand
Hungry for reflex, a hand that took
No thought of its target
Like hail from a blind sky,
Involuntary, fast, but brutal
In its bruising. Father, I bear the bridge
Of what might have been
A broken nose. I lift to you
What was a busted lip. Bless
The boy who believes
His best beatings lack
Intention, the mark of the beast.
Bring back to life the son
Who glories in the sin
Of immediacy, calling it love.
God, save the man whose arm
Like an angel’s invisible wing
May fly backward in fury
Whether or not his son stands near.
Help me hold in place my blazing jaw
As I think to say, excuse me.


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Filed under African American poets, Poetry, Poets

New Poem in Florida English, a Lovely Journal

My poem “Heading Back North” has been published in Florida English, a Journal of Creative Arts, which also features fiction, essays and artwork. It is well worth checking out. Don’t miss Ann Leshy Wood’s unforgettable photography, of which the above is a sample.

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Filed under Poetry, Publications, Siham Karami poems, Siham Karami poetry

Two Poems in Sukoon Magazine

The newest issue of Sukoon Magazine, an Arab-themed online journal, is out with two of my poems!! One of them, “Out of Egypt,” is a Sestina. The magazine has poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art, and has an impressive lineup of contributors, including Philip Metres and Susan Rich: well worth checking out.

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Filed under Middle East poetry, Poetry, Publications, Siham Karami poems, Siham Karami poetry

My Review of The Lillian Trilogy published!!

Autostraddle has published my review of Mary Meriam’s comprehensive poetry collection The Lillian Trilogy here! It’s a fantastic book for anyone to read, a delight. Feminist, Lesbian, Sensual, full of subtle and penetrating rhyme and rhythm, seething in its exposure of injustice and moving in its declarations of pain and sorrow. Check it out!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books, Formal Poetry, Formal poets, Poetry, Poetry Books, Poetry in forms, Poets, Publications, Siham Karami, women poets, Women's poetry

New Poem in Right Hand Pointing: #13!

Right Hand Pointing’s latest issue, “Imaginary Numbers,” contains 16 poems, the titles of which are the numbers 1-16. Each poem should somehow relate to its number. And luckily, my poem for number 13 is up!!!

So please check it out. And check out the whole issue. As usual with RHP, the poems are short, and never boring. So what are you waiting for???

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Four Poems Published in String Poet!

Ecstasy! The lovely online poetry zine, String Poet, has published four of my poems, “Distanced,” “Over Puget Sound,” “Touching Down in Paris,” and “Tempering,” a villanelle. It is a thrill to be among such fine poets as this new issue.

Please stop by and check out this excellent venue!



Filed under Poetry, Publications