“the old head verses (ecclesiastes) 21-25” – Poetry by Kwame Opoku-Duku

Dreams No. 2 – Jacob Lawrence, 1965

“the old head verses (ecclesiastes) 21 – 25” is one of two fiercely beautiful poems by Kwame Opoku-Duku from our Winter 2018 issue.

{ X }

21 THE MOST BEAUTIFULEST SHIT
              in the whole world can
             be the ugliest shit at the
             same time/ like toilet paper
             & black plastic bags
             hanging from a cherry blossom
             in the spring/
or the smile of a wretch as you
             put the dollar in his cup &
             he says god bless you
              & you walk away/
or the wrath of a mother’s
             love/ beaten into her
             through generations/
or the son’s tears as he chokes
             the doctor who cannot
             save her/
22 when was the last time we
             dreamed? what did
             we dream of?
23 it gets hard to think with
             all that laughing in
             the background/
24 it gets hard & you think
             that shit will never
             change/ & the desire
             to pass through
             life like a shadow becomes
             greater than the desire
             to raise your voice in vain/
25 plus all everybody do is talk & take
             pictures of themselves/
             so you can see why folks might
             just save their breath
             when you see everybody
             huddled up crying on
             the news/ asking why/
& you see so much beauty in the world
             & you wonder  how much
             of beauty is really real

{ X }

KWAME OPOKU-DUKU is a poet, fiction writer, and filmmaker. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Massachusetts Review, Gigantic Sequins, Perigee, Flock, Posit, Hobart, Profane, and elsewhere. Kwame lives in Harlem, and along with Karisma Price, he is a founding member of the Unbnd Collective. Find him on Twitter @kwamethethird.

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