Don't Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

This book is raw and powerful.  It is not for the squeamish.  Many of the poems address sex very openly, but never in a sleazy or tawdry way.  HIV and one-night stands are not shied away from.  But this book is amazing!  The opening poem, "summer, somewhere" is magical.  It gives a space in a post-living world to black boys killed in this one--the space is beautiful.  Danez does in poetry what we haven't done in America.  I've seen the poem reprinted a few places.  It should be required reading.  Buy here.

 

From "summer, somewhere"

. . . boys become new / moons, gum-dark on all sides, beg bruise // -blue water to fly, at least tide, at least / spit back a father or two. i won't get started. // history is what it is. it knows what it did.

 

do you know what it's like to live / on land who loves you back? // no need for geography / now, we safe everywhere. // point to whatever you please / & call it church, home, or sweet love, // paradise is a world where everything / is sanctuary & nothing is a gun.

 

From "not an elegy"

ask the rain / what it was / like to be the river / then ask the river / who it drowned.