Poem of the Week: Brian Gilmore

philadelphia (for d.j. renegade, 
ta-nehisi coates, darrell stover from landover,
and the prison writers, lorton reformatory)
“history will absolve me …”
–fidel castro
like fidel after raiding
moncada barracks

we face history like
seed removed from
soil

no longer waiting on
america

our eyes open now
curtains on tropical
sunday mornings
peering over horizons
around corners
desperately seeking road
that leads to
sierra maestra

until then

pens must move like
scalpels
slice through layers of
lament
challenge headlines
handed down through
history
that which forces us to gather
here, though even outside these
walls we are linked: gravity to earth
needle to thread, each of us
free beyond barbed wire
and bricks, spill our souls on
these floors, like scattered
pieces of puzzles.
***
From We Didn’t Know Any Gangsters (Cherry Castle Publishing, 2014).
Used with permission.
***
Brian Gilmore is a poet, writer, public interest attorney, and columnist with the Progressive Media Project. He is a Cave Canem Fellow (1997), Kimbilio Fellow (2014), Literature Fellow for the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities (1997), Pushcart Prize nominee (2007), and winner of the Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award (2001 and 2003). Gilmore has been a contributing writer for Ebony-Jet.com, and JazzTimes Magazine. He is the author of three collections of poetry: elvis presley is alive and well and living in harlemJungle Nights and Soda Fountain Rags: Poem for Duke Ellington & the Duke Ellington Orchestra and his latest We Didn’t Know Any Gangsters. His poems and writings are widely published and have appeared in The Progressive, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and many other publications. He teaches law at the Michigan State University College of Law, where he lectures and writes on contemporary issues relating to housing and economic inequality, dividing his time between Michigan and Washington, D.C.
***
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