Bushwick-born poet, Emanuel Xavier, will be curating a monthly feature exclusively for Bushwick Daily featuring poems by local Bushwick residents and/or natives. Poems can be about anything (not exclusive to Bushwick) but contributors must currently live within the Bushwick area or have been born and/or raised in the neighborhood.
Today, Xavier kicks off the series with his poem “Runaway.” He is the author of poetry collections “Radiance,” “Nefarious,” “If Jesus Were Gay,” “Americano,” “Pier Queen,” and the novel “Christ Like.” He returned to Bushwick as a resident in 2001 shortly after 9/11 to live closer to his family and has remained a local artist ever since. If you haven’t seen or heard his poetry before, this is your chance to get acquainted.
He has been featured on HBO’s Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry, spoken at The United Nations and was a Bushwick TEDx speaker. A foreign documentary about innovative poets from around the world will debut soon as part of the Edinburgh Film Festival. Xavier continues to perform at colleges and universities throughout the country and his books are often included in LGBTQ and Latino Studies courses.
If you want to be included in this monthly series, send two to three poems (10 pages max) to [email protected] with the subject “Bushwick Bohemia Beat Poetry Submission.” Poems should be attached as Word documents, 10 point, Times New Roman font, double spaced and set up as they should appear on the site if selected. Please include a brief 3-5 sentence bio and your personal relation to Bushwick with your current mailing address for verification. If submitting previously published work, please include appropriate publication credits. You’ll only receive an email if your poem is selected for publication.
Submissions are due on the first of every month, and the selected entry will be published in the final week of the following month.
By Emanuel Xavier
There is a world out there where I belong:
loved by a mother and father who understand
my dreams, who listen to my fears of my older
cousin, his touch, or how boys make fun of me
in school. There is a world out there where I can
grow up to love myself and others like me, where
soft spoken boys can speak boldly. I will
call it, poetry, each memory an inspiration. All
this pain, these dismembered and abandoned cars,
these empty lots left behind where I know deep
in my heart that there is innocence in playing
with dolls, reaching for rainbows, books, even mami’s
pretty dresses. I will not be alone in this world.
I have somewhere to run. I do not know exactly
where. I have no maps or stars to guide me through
the night. If it turns out that this is my world,
maybe I should simply learn to laugh and live
and let the others catch up to me instead.
from Nefarious by Emanuel Xavier (Rebel Satori Press, 2013)
Boy Running on Palmetto Street
Bushwick, Brooklyn, June 1985
Photograph © Meryl Meisler 1985 (merylmeisler.com)