Who will write a love poem to our black boys?
(In Memory of Avonte Oquendo & Myls Dobson)
JP Howard

Where do our black boys go?
Why they end up floating in oceans and rivers?
Body parts find their way to surface,
cigarette burns and baby’s body bruised all over.

Why we let our black boys slip away?
Silence muffles their voices,
at four and fourteen they share a secret.
We bury our black boys again and again.

We break our black boys.
We let our silent black boys
slip away in broad daylight.
We repeat we repeat we repeat their chorus.

Who looks for a black boy running out a school house?
Who hurts our black boys behind closed doors?
Why we stop looking for our beautiful black boys,
until their skull is crushed or floating.

Who will write a love poem to our black boys?
Hold their broken bones against a warm chest,
let them touch something soft and tender
before they float away.

JP HOWARD aka Juliet P. Howard is a poet, Cave Canem graduate fellow, member of The Hot Poets Collective and native New Yorker. She curates and nurtures Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon (WWBPS) and blog, a forum offering women writers at all levels a venue to come together in a positive and supportive space. WWBPS hosts monthly literary Salons in NY and the blog accepts submissions of poetry. JP was selected as Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging LGBT Voices Fellow, as well as a Cave Canem Fellow in Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She was a finalist for Astraea’s Lesbian Writers Fund for poetry. She was also the recipient of a Soul Mountain Retreat writing residency.

Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in: Adrienne A Poetry Journal of Queer Women, The Best American Poetry Blog, MiPOesias iPad Companion, African Voices Magazine, Kweli Journal, The Mom Egg, “Of Fire, Of Iron”, Talking Writing, Muzzle Magazine, Muzzle’s 2011 “Best of the First Year” Print Issue, Connotation Press, Brown Girl Love, TORCH, Queer Convention: A Chapbook of Fierce, Cave Canem Anthology XII: Poems 2008-2009, Cave Canem XI 2007 Anthology, Promethean Literary Journal, The Portable Lower East Side (Queer City) and Poetry in Performance. She was awarded an MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York in 2009, holds a BA from Barnard College as well as a JD from Brooklyn Law School.


Return to Table of Contents