Sample of JP Howard's poems published online

etheree for black women, Split This Rock's Poem of the Week (2017) 

bedtime poem for americaSplit This Rock's Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience

What to Say to a Friend Who Wants to Give Up, HIV Here and Now Project

We Beautiful Black Boys, The Feminist Wire

Ghazal: What Love Takes, Muzzle Magazine

Diva Doll, Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color

Interview with JP & two poems, Heart Break & summer night in greenwich village, Connotation Press

Ida Mae's Quilt & The Place Where Pulse Begins and Ends, Talking Writing

Reverse Garland Cinquain for Trayvon MartinThe Best American Poetry Blog

Who will write a love poem to our black boys? (In Memory of Avonte Oquendo & Myls Dobson), The Wide Shore: A Journal of Global Women's Poetry

Elegy for our Brown Boys (In Memory of Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin and for all of our brown boys) The Operating System, National Poetry Month essay & poem 


 

bedtime poem for america by JP Howard

this body is black is blue is you
you a country i won’t ever trust
this country is foreign
this foreign is familiar
tastes almost like home
like mama’s peach cobbler gone bad

 

this blue is my body 
this red is my blood 
this blood tastes like home
these stars sewn on 
black of my skin
shine when night comes
 
i wear this tattoo for you 
america 
spread your white sheets on my bed
tomorrow i will rip you to shreds

Originally published on Split This Rock 

Ghazal: what love takes  

by JP Howard


I’m sleeping as I write this; you’re standing over me crying
while Ella belts out: No, no they can’t take that away from me

If this is all I can get, your hand on my shoulder in the dream,
lips warm against my neck, I’ll take that

The alarm clock becomes enemy; I press snooze every few minutes,
search for you and finally press stop when I can’t take it any more

Please don’t mistake this for a love poem – I stopped writing those
damn things once you left; anyhow, that last poem I wrote: you wouldn’t take it

I call my mama and ask her how she lived all those decades
knowing her lover would never fully be hers and she said: chile, you just take it

Wake up! Rewind routine daily, tuck kids in, cook dinner work round the clock,
leave patience on the dining room table while making breakfast, and the kids take it

As I wake from the dream, your tears fall from my eyes and I ask myself:
J why do you complicate love? Why can’t you just take it?

Originally published in Muzzle Magazine. 

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