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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Jericho Brown - Bullet Points

I will not shoot myself
In the head, and I will not shoot myself
In the back, and I will not hang myself
With a trashbag, and if I do,
I promise you, I will not do it
In a police car while handcuffed
Or in the jail cell of a town
I only know the name of
Because I have to drive through it
To get home. Yes, I may be at risk,
But I promise you, I trust the maggots
Who live beneath the floorboards
Of my house to do what they must
To any carcass more than I trust
An officer of the law of the land
To shut my eyes like a man
Of God might, or to cover me with a sheet
So clean my mother could have used it
To tuck me in. When I kill me, I will
Do it the same way most Americans do,
I promise you: cigarette smoke
Or a piece of meat on which I choke
Or so broke I freeze
In one of these winters we keep
Calling worst. I promise if you hear
Of me dead anywhere near
A cop, then that cop killed me. He took
Me from us and left my body, which is,
No matter what we've been taught,
Greater than the settlement
A city can pay a mother to stop crying,
And more beautiful than the new bullet
Fished from the folds of my brain.

Jericho Brown - Psalm 150

Some folks fool themselves into believing,
But I know what I know once, at the height
Of hopeless touching, my man and I hold
Our breaths, certain we can stop time or maybe

Eliminate it from our lives, which are shorter 
Since we learned to make love for each other 
Rather than doing it to each other. As for praise 
And worship, I prefer the latter. Only memory

Makes us kneel, silent and still. Hear me? 
Thunder scares. Lightning lets us see. Then, 
Heads covered, we wait for rain. Dear Lord, 
Let me watch for his arrival and hang my head

And shake it like a man who's lost and lived. 
Something keeps trying, but I'm not killed yet.


Jericho Brown - Duplex from Windfall Room on Vimeo.

The duplex is a form I invented. It's a fusion of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues. The video was taken in my den, which I'm mostly excited about because growing up I never imagined living in a space that afforded for two living rooms, one of which middle class folks like to call a "den."

Jericho Brown is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His third collection is The Tradition (Copper Canyon 2019). His poems have appeared in Buzzfeed, The New Republic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, TIME magazine, Tin House, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University.

Published by Windfall Room

Jericho Brown - Hustle

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 - Dark

I am sick of your sadness,
Jericho Brown, your blackness,
Your books. Sick of you
Laying me down
So I forget how sick
I am. I’m sick of your good looks,
Your debates, your concern, your
Determination to keep your butt
Plump, the little money you earn.
I’m sick of you saying no when yes is as easy
As a young man, bored with you
Saying yes to every request
Though you’re as tired as anyone else yet
Consumed with a single
Diagnosis of health. I’m sick
Of your hurting. I see that
You’re blue. You may be ugly,
But that ain’t new.
Everyone you know is
Just as cracked. Everyone you love is
As dark, or at least as black.

Jericho Brown - Duplex (I Begin With Love)

I begin with love, hoping to end there.

I don’t want to leave a messy corpse.


       I don’t want to leave a messy corpse

       Full of medicines that turn in the sun.


Some of my medicines turn in the sun.

Some of us don’t need hell to be good.


       Those who need least, need hell to be good.

       What are the symptoms of your sickness?


Here is one symptom of my sickness:

Men who love me are men who miss me.


       Men who leave me are men who miss me

       In the dream where I am an island.


In the dream where I am an island,

I grow green with hope.  I’d like to end there.