by Kiese Laymon
All our irony and stretch marks and knowing nods and creations and trifling ways and imagination and sight beyond sight and dignity in the face of murder and lies that sound truthful and the truth that sound lied up and porches and neck grease and hometraining and awkwardness and cool and styles upon styles upon style is what we have and that thing that when it’s turned on rarely gets turned off unless we hear an 808 from two 16s and sonic booms and beady beautiful beads and sonic booms and hot combs on gas stove and sonic booms and genius and genius and genius and our sound and our laughters and our sounds and our laughterand our sounds and our laughters and our laughter and our laughter and ourlaughter and our sound and how I got you and I’m scared and you
scared but you got me and we got us and we still scared and I am so thankful we are us and so sad they have yet to understand who they are to themselves and who they have
been to us, and that we know both, and we don’t know shit, but we know we black and we know what we have in common with the birds, and if I couldn’t be black, I’d be a bird, a black raggedy one, and we’d be so fly soaring, talking black bird shit, dropping black bird shit and we’d be dipping and diving and saying “watch this, watch this” in the face of terror and that good love, that good love, that good love and we’d know that good love is black, can be blacker, even if it look white and red and yellow and gray and pink and green and blue and blue and blue is so black and blue is so black and blue is so black, and blue.
Previously published in the Boston Review.
* Writing Prompt: Write an Ode to a body part you’ve neglected. Write an Apology to a body part you’ve neglected. Blend these pieces into one piece, no more than 50 words, called Ode and Apology.
This issue of The Hard Work of Hope is produced in partnership with the Boston Review.
Kiese Laymon is a Black, southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi, and a Professor of English and Creative Writing. He is author of three books, including Heavy: An American Memoir and the forthcoming book, Good, God.