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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 12, 2017.
About this Poem 

“‘the valley of its making’ is a poem I wrote thinking about the movement for Black lives and my partner. She does a lot of work as an organizer and in our conversations we often think through what it means to believe in freedom even given the harsh realities of an imperfect world. The poem is thinking about how love can be one of those sites of freedom.”
—Nate Marshall

the valley of its making

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 organized are still
unbearably human, they
still fuck & hurt & harm
& are not actually sorry.
the people still fight
each other too much &
the system not enough
& too often it is not a fight
but a bullet. too many men
want to be in the front
& don’t want to march
anywhere in particular.
some of us have degrees
& noses to look down. 
so many want a version
of old days that never
existed. many are still unwilling
to grow a vocabulary for personhood,
even from the words already in them.
so many will deny they to a sibling
simply because. our people are
messy & messed up & a mess.
nothing about our people is romantic
& it shouldn’t be. our people deserve
poetry without meter. we deserve our
own jagged rhythm & our own uneven
walk toward sun. you make happening happen.
we happen to love. this is our greatest
action. 

Copyright © 2017 by Nate Marshall. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 12, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Nate Marshall. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 12, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Nate Marshall

Nate Marshall

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

by this poet

poem

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