poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Nate Marshall is the author of Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). He is the director of national programs of Young Chicago Authors and lives on the South Side of Chicago. 

picking flowers

Grandma’s rosebush
reminiscent of a Vice Lord’s do-rag.
the unfamiliar bloom in Mrs. Bradley’s yard
banging a Gangster Disciple style blue.
the dandelions all over the park putting on
Latin King gold like the Chicano cats
over east before they turn into a puff
of smoke like all us colored boys.

picking dandelions will ruin your hands,
turn their smell into a bitter cologne.

a man carries flowers for 3 reasons:

                       • he is in love
                       • he is in mourning
                       • he is a flower salesman

i’m on the express train passing stops
to a woman. maybe she’s home.
i have a bouquet in my hand,
laid on 1 of my arms like a shotgun.
the color is brilliant, a gang war
wrapped & cut diagonal at the stems.
i am not a flower salesman.
that is the only thing i know.

From Wild Hundreds. Copyright 2015 by Nate Marshall. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

From Wild Hundreds. Copyright 2015 by Nate Marshall. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Nate Marshall

Nate Marshall

Nate Marshall is the author of Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). 

by this poet

poem

for Page

poetry makes nothing happen
—W. H. Auden

the people in the streets
are plucked up like
radishes from dark earth,
heads beat the purplish-red
of ripeness. the women lead
the stupid & brutish to a
future they don’t deserve.
the

2