poem index

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Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 250 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year.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.

to be considered before inviting everyone to The Cookout™

Recorded for Poem-a-Day February 15, 2019.
About this Poem 

“The poem was spawned while reflecting on the communal nature of suffering. Within the communities that raised me, suffering has always possessed an unspoken sacredness. In many regards, it has been a key factor in forging family, kinship, and allyship. It has possessed both pain and fortune. With this poem, I’m attempting to caution against offering the spoils of our suffering to those who’ve shown no true investment in the community.”
—Rasheed Copeland

to be considered before inviting everyone to The Cookout™

the gone did not go so that we’d endure
plucking grapes from the potato salad
we did not stretch Frankie Beverly’s voice
like a tent across this humble meadow
of amber folk sipping gold sun through skin
rejoicing over their continued breath
just for you to invite anyone in
able to pause the bloody legacy
and distract your eyes with a flimsy act
you break all the unwritten covenants
forged in the saved language of unmarked graves
those called to eat are those who starved with us
and not those whose mouths still water
when watching the grill’s flame lick Uncle’s arm

Copyright © 2019 by Rasheed Copeland. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 15, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2019 by Rasheed Copeland. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 15, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.