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Poem-A-Week

sitting in a wicker chair against
floral wallpaper in oakland heat
Daniel B. Summerhill

there is a portrait of huey newton 

                      in my church.

it’s communion sunday

            and mama has on her good shoes

with the gold links.

           the jackson boys are dressed 

to the nines 

their pants starch-creased and hovering

          above their snakeskins like halos

 

hueys in a Black beret— 

 

but gone, anyway


 

                    what’s blood without a body to show for it?

in the states, what is more righteous than a gun 

           and a spear sitting 

           at the left hand of god

 

on a wicker chair

           in oakland?

 

//

 

wicker chair out front since before cointelpro 

          bludgeoned the panthers. 

 

we’ve come because it’s easter 

                                        and we’re hungry. inside,

 

marvin gaye’s falsetto 

 

                              seeps in like a gentle flood 

 

                                      and the kitchen becomes 

                                      a small soul train line 

                                      for 12 minutes instead. 

 

all these bodies bending like prayer

 

                     Black means religion is second 

 

only to dancing.

 

//

 

the day america stormed 

           america 

 

                                 i was Black and in exile

            for yanking a tulip 

from the ground

 

                   i shouldn’t have, 

but wanted something 

          more beautiful to die 

before i did—

 

call it civil disobedience 

originally published in Anti-Heroin Chic.

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Daniel B. Summerhill is Assistant Professor of Poetry/Social Action and Composition Studies at California State University - Monterey Bay. He has performed in over thirty states, the UK, and was invited by the U.S. Embassy to guest lecture and perform in South Africa. Daniel has earned a Sharon Olds fellowship as well as a fellowship from the Watering Hole. His poetry has appeared in Columbia Journal, Rust & Moth, Button Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Hellebore, and others. His work has earned him two Pushcart nominations as well as a Best of the Net nomination. His debut collection is Divine, Divine, Divine published by Oakland-based Nomadic Press. His sophomore collection, Mausoleum of Flowers was published by CavanKerry Press in April 2022. Summerhill holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Solstice Low-Residency MFA program of Boston College. Daniel is the inaugural poet Laureate of Monterey County.