Everyday (I Gets)
I play the stonewhile old River tonguing mecould fret me to grit— naw, not fret:but loves me up what they dowhat they do on the regular. I’m a loverwhen I’m fighting. Peaceful,here-lately. When I cry, say:he’s having River’s babies, and so.On the regular, I tend them,I tend to look mad as I find memore sand now, but naw. I’m fitfulwhen I’m sleeping. Wakeful,a minute. My ears wetwhen I get up. Like drowning, though I’ve never.All my dreams Chevrolet heavy.This land would swallow me for one damn pearl.
“Everyday (I Gets)” from SHO.
Copyright © 2021 by Douglas Kearney.
Used with permission of the author and Wave Books.
Douglas Kearney has published seven poetry collections, including Sho (Wave 2021), Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, and the California Book Award silver medal for poetry. M. NourbeSe Philip calls Kearney’s collection of libretti, Someone Took They Tongues. (Subito, 2016), “a seismic, polyphonic mash-up.” Kearney’s Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. Kearney teaches Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and lives in St. Paul with his family.
"Kearney's prosody is miraculous. Explosive double beats launch the lines or hit the break like a hi-hat. Slant rhymes suggest infinite puns, but Kearney sometimes downshifts from complexity and just cruises around the neighborhood. Formalism as syncopation and signification: I can't think of another writer as gifted as Kearney is at sound."
—Ken Chen, NPR Books
"Sho exemplifies the daring possibilities for poetry today. Despite the devastation held within our lexicon, words hold the dazzling potential that we can rise through language to 'come up clutching what is under— / come back striking / what’s above.'"
—CD Eskilson, The Arkansas International