Let’s Get Some Better Angels at This Party
Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel.— The New York Times
You always thought angels livedin the dark. You didn't sleep.Appeared at the foot of Mom's bedcovered in Nana's perfume. You sawand kept seeing. You let themmake a crescent of your spine.The same thing over and over.You don't trust air. You call the ghoststhe angels your kin.There is one who looks like your brother.One in Nike shorts tastes sauce froma wooden spoon and pours ruminto his brown on the stoop.There's one who brings the weed.There's one you call your brother.They are already dead. They livein the future. You see them becauseyou can't sleep. You feel cold.Angels with ringtones and child support.Angels with PhDs. One in your bed.One calculates the tip at brunch.One colors inside the chalk line.One walks with you into the discoevening, radiating purposefully.August rain is cold. The desertis cold. Verdicts. Seasons.Verdicts. Night. Blood. Saliva.A cousin of a friend of a friend who broughta six-pack, yes, perfect, let everyone in.Your angels fly outfits, second chances.Handguns, candy, cigars, mothers, mothersfor your angels and children for the mothers.They spook. They blood and sage.And when the policemen come to breakeverything an angelin a polo shirt answers the door, saysofficers I'm sorryI'm not
Copyright © 2019 by Morgan Parker
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Morgan Parker is the author of the poetry collections Magical Negro, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, and Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night. Her debut young adult novel Who Put This Song On? is forthcoming in fall 2019, and her debut book of nonfiction will be released in 2020. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Paris Review, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, Best American Poetry 2016, The New York Times, and The Nation. She is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a 2016 Pushcart Prize, and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. She hosts Reparations, Live!, co-curates the Poets With Attitude reading series with Tommy Pico, and with Angel Nafis she is The Other Black Girl Collective. She lives in Los Angeles.
“2019 justly belongs to Morgan Parker. Her poems shred me with their intelligence, dark humor and black-hearted vision. Parker is one of this generation’s best minds, able to hold herself and her world, which includes all of us, up to impossible lights, revealing every last bit of our hopes, failings, possibilities and raptures.”
— Danez Smith
“Morgan Parker continues to fearlessly explore what it means to be a black woman in the United States today. . . . Bold and edgy, the writing spotlights the strength and tenacity that enable the speaker to survive grief and inequity. It also gives voice to her disappointments and delights as she claims—and proclaims—agency over her body and her life.”
— The Washington Post
“The firebrand poet behind There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé pens another lay-it-all-on-the-line volume of scorching verse.”
— O, The Oprah Magazine