1602 Hogeboom Avenue | East Hill | Eau Claire, WI

Don't Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith

Don't Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith

Regular price $16.00 Sale

From Graywolf Press:

Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry
Winner of the Poetry Society of America's Four Quartets Prize

history is what it is. it knows what it did.
bad dog. bad blood. bad day to be a boy
 
color of a July well spent. but here, not earth
not heaven, we can’t recall our white shirts
 
turned ruby gowns. here, there’s no language
for officer or law, no color to call white.
 
if snow fell, it’d fall black. please, don’t call
us dead, call us alive someplace better.
 
we say our own names when we pray.
we go out for sweets & come back.
 
—from “summer, somewhere”
Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don’t Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality—the dangers experienced in skin, body, and blood—and a diagnosis of HIV positive. “some of us are killed / in pieces,” Smith writes, “some of us all at once.” Don’t Call Us Dead is an astonishing collection, one that confronts America where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.