There are few figures whose lives capture the last sixty years of Washington's history more poetically than its recently departed mayor-for-life Marion Barry. And there are few poets who embody the perspective and aesthetic of modern D.C. more effectively than Kenny Carroll. Thus, beginning this thread with Carroll's "The Haint of Washington" seems more than appropriate. While many in the media continue to struggle with (and bungle) the act of framing Barry's legacy, Carroll, as a poet, chooses the honest—and therefore artistically challenging—approach: creatively presenting as much breadth and emotional nuance as possible. Carroll's anaphoric portrait sees contrast and contradiction as opportunities, not as an impediments. No, Marion Barry will not leave, and neither will this poem once you have allowed it inside your imagination.
Kyle Dargan's forthcoming book, Honest Engine, will be published by the University of Georgia Press in April 2015.
Photo credit: Marlene Hawthrone