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Poem-a-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 250 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary and audio by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is distributed via email, web, and social media to 500,000+ readers free of charge. The series is curated by twelve poets from across the country who have wide-ranging expertise and editorial perspectives. Learn more about the 2019 guest editors and revisit the 2018 guest editors and the poems they curated. Read more about Tracy K. Smith's approach to curating April

American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin [When James Baldwin & Audre Lorde each lend]

Recorded for Poem-a-Day April 26, 2019.
About this Poem 

"I hope this poem both speaks for itself and is readable between the lines. Let’s say it all happened sometime in the early 70’s."
—Terrance Hayes

American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin [When James Baldwin & Audre Lorde each lend]

When James Baldwin & Audre Lorde each lend
Stevie Wonder an eyeball, he immediately contends 
With gravity, falling either to his knees or flat on 
His luminous face. I’ve heard several versions 
Of the story.  In this one Audre Lorde dons 
Immaculate French loafers, turtlenecked ballgown, 
And afro halo. An eye-sized ruby glimmers on 
A pinky ring that’s a hair too big for Jimmy Baldwin’s 
Pinky. He’s blue with beauty. They’re accustomed 
To being followed, but now, the eye-patch twins
Will be especially scary to white people. Looking upon
Them, Wonder’s head purples with plural visions
Of blackness, gavels, grapples, purrs, pens. Ten to one 
Odds God also prefers to be referred to as They & Them.

Copyright © 2019 by Terrance Hayes. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 26, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2019 by Terrance Hayes. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 26, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.