Miscreants by James Hoch
From the poem The Court of Forgetting
“The awkward-gaited, the under-ripe,
jacked-up over-jerseyed teenage boys
spill onto the court, a slab of desert
beaten in the yard of this way station
at the edge of the Reservation. The air-guitar
player, the air-baller, the half-court rim-clanger,
the pimple-plagued conjurer of nipples,
the Bible-thumping believer that lingerie
carries the meadow-scent of angels,
they’re talking trash, snatching loose balls,
laying them softly off the plywood.”
Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith
From the poem What to Tweak
“Rainbows warp when you curse them.
I have held a shiver of black child against my body.
The word river doesn’t know edges.
God wouldn’t do this.
There’s a Chevy growing in that tree.
Here, I am so starkly white.
Sometimes bullets make perfect sense.
Eventually the concrete will buckle.
They won’t stop screeching at me.
I have passed out all my gum.
So many people are thirsty.
A kid breathes wet against my thigh.
He calls me father.”