Back to Black

June 11, 2020

Hey crow – have you clocked some carrion
or come to make friends? Your croak and cackle’s
more tuneful to me than the blatter of grackles,
your black blacker than cormorant or shalik.
Of all the inks I’ve accrued – the squat bottle
of India pine soot, lampblack and shellac
deepened with a stratum of gum arabic
or Chinese ink stick fine-ground on the ink stone –
none’s lacquered and lustrous as yours, none runs
so far from the spectrum or eats the sun
back to a charred bone with quite your sardonic
aplomb. So be a friend and lend me a peck
from your cloak of no colour, your vital and dense,
original virginal evergreen black.

Jamie McKendrick


November 5, 2019

Is the total black, being spoken
From the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open.
How a diamond comes into a knot of flame
How a sound comes into a word, coloured
By who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open
Like a diamond on glass windows
Singing out within the crash of passing sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
In a perforated book — buy and sign and tear apart —
And come whatever wills all chances
The stub remains
An ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
Breeding like adders. Others know sun
Seeking like gypsies over my tongue
To explode through my lips
Like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
Bedevil me.

Love is a word another kind of open —
As a diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am black because I come from the earth’s inside
Take my word for jewel in your open light.

Audre Lorde


October 18, 2017

It’s said you can’t walk
at midnight forever.
At some point,
you’re supposed to hit
It’s said you can’t wander
in fog very long
before ambush
or mind snap,
you see ambush where no bush exists
and aim is very bad.
Tar slickens you like sweat.
Sexton went pretty fast.
Plath had to try.
Buk and Poe took eons.
In the end,
eight ball sweat
slit their breath.
Black lung suffocation without

benefits or acknowledgement.

Trina Stolec