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You know I think we all can gather in a poem and really meditate on something, or commune around something, or feast on something.

Or maybe you can? We commune; we laugh; we cry; we mourn; we praise; we destroy; we build. I want the poem to be all that. I think poetry at its best creates co-conspirators in the work. Somebody comes into the poem and they become a partner in healing or your partner in mourning, or they become an activist homie in the work. It gets us riled up; it calms us down. But I think what poetry does at its best is offer that human connection.


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Though sometimes I like it. They offer us temporary sanctuary, but after we leave that space, either we take a little bit of that sanctuary with us, or we go back into the world knowing about that imperfectness, and we leave with maybe a tiny tool to help perfect it a little bit more. I want to go to the idea of the body, which is in these poems. You said that! So, talk to me about the body, about writing the body, and how you do that. My body is a point of contention all of my life, you know? I think when you know the danger your body is in you have a different relationship to it, and you know just how precious that is because you know just how easy it is to lose it.

And so I am always thinking about my body not even just in poems but as I move throughout the world—thinking about how I offer up my body to other people, whether that be through work or how I feed other people or whatever. What was the question? How do you deal with that in language?

What are some of the tools you take to all of that complexity? I dunno how to disembody the voice from the body, especially when my body is all that people use or need to make an assumption about me. So for me the body is my link to everything else I write in my poetry. You know, it is about that physical act of touch that, as a person, is very important to me. Have you ever taken that test?

Slim Greer in Hell by Sterling A. Brown - Poems | unumowicat.cf

I identify as gender neutral, but I cannot divorce myself from boyness in any type of way. And I love boyness in that way. I do have a lot of fond memories of that. The next book definitely contends with that, too. And I always think about the shackles of masculinity. Masculinity is a sad thing.

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Men are so desperate to be not-men, or to find a new way of doing it, Good Lord! And so I think for me a lot of that wrestling with masculinity that happens in [Insert] Boy is me questioning and wrestling with my gender as well, and really thinking about if I do wear this moniker of boy, of man, what does that mean?

What tribe am I a part of then? What histories do I hold if I am that? And I think that I am that, and I wonder oftentimes, too, how my race makes my gender even more complicated. How does that body, that vessel, mean? How do we negotiate with the world around us? How does the world negotiate us and deal with us? And I think especially in that idea of violence and danger, right?

Gender neutral or not, I have a Black man body, and I think about that. So masculinity is a tricky thing: I hate it. I hate it. I hate men so much. We do such bad things! Well they need it, you know! It gets to be such a hard, amorphous, just like—not amorphous, amorphable? Is that a word?

It is this unmovable monument that so many men are stuck in. I want to bring softness. The masculine cannot exist without the feminine; it has to engage with it in some way, and who says that femininity is necessarily soft? But I want to bring that tenderness. I want to bring that softness. I want to introduce men to a wider side of manhood and to think about what it means to need, to be held, to need love, to need quiet, to need … to need.

I think the poem about your grandfather is one that really wrestles with that, right? Talk to me a little bit about your relationship to those bigger stories and how you work with them in a poem. All that stuff fascinates me. And so those same desires are what gets me interested in the Bible—which could be a cartoon or could be a comic book very easily, you know—and the Greeks.

Any creature that has the ability to fabricate all these worlds within its mind subconsciously is worthy of bringing that same type of fabric-making that we have in dreams into our real world and into our writing. Through dealing with the surreal and dealing with the imaginative, we also show the real life possibilities of things. Through the surreal we get that exaggeration for our audience and our readers that allows them to settle back into their own worlds, but a little bit extended, stretched.

You know, you stretch it all the way out, so that way you come back a little bit bigger than you were before. I have not watched too many episodes of it, but he is fine. He is definitely fine.

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I do not appreciate the respectability politics of it. You know, he had that whole thing in the second episode about the N-word, and I was just like, Get away. But the women on that show are fantastic. And I do love that Luke Cage has always been a character for decades now. Oh, yeah.

Tell Hell I Ain't Cominga Spoken Word Poem by Marcia P Samuels | | Booktopia

So Luke Cage was Blaxploitation Superman, had been with his lil afro back in the day. So the fact that Luke Cage in is getting this hit TV show is big! Before Luke Cage, it was Jessica Jones, who is this woman who has all these powers, whose whole storyline was dealing with domestic abuse, and trying to get rid of this lover. And I love that Marvel is not scared to take it there and to really give people powers that would be useful in the real world.