Sample of JP Howard's poems published online

Ghazal for Sugar Hill Secrets or Lullaby for Harlem Anomaly (November 2017) 

praise poets and their pens Academy of American Poets poem-a-day feature (September 2017)

night stand & sugar hill, a love note, in pieces ~ part of "Challenging the Quintessential Motherhood Poem" folio in Mom Egg Review Vox Online curated by  Jennifer Martelli and Cindy Veach.  (September 2017)

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 


praise poets and their pens* by JP Howard

dedicated to my 30/30 crew

praise daily poems in my inbox
how they make me laugh in one stanza,
then break my heart the next
praise how poets hold onto our first loves,
and scent of mama, now gone
praise how we nurture our child self,
gently wrap her around stanzas,
baby girl is resilient
praise our spunk and our sadness,
let our writing heal
at home, at work, in cafés, even in the ICU
praise how we hold our memories up to light,
gentle and cupped in palm of hands
praise our rough and sexy poems,
sometimes that’s all we need
fiyah in the sheets
praise bebop and jazz
how my foot taps when i
speak your poems out loud
praise power of music and mama
who played Nancy Wilson all night long,
crying behind a closed door.
praise how i wrote a new poem this week,
while my sick child laid on my lap,
because everyone needs to heal, especially mamas.

*Copyright © 2017 by JP Howard. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 13, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

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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