We’re announcing an open call for poetry submissions for our January installment of “Bushwick Bohemia Beat Poetry” curated by award-winning and Bushwick-born poet, Emanuel Xavier. The series features poems by local Bushwick residents and/or natives.
If you would like to be featured next month, 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 formatted as they should appear on the site if selected. Please include a brief 3-5 sentence bio and your personal connection 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 by January 12, 2018 and the selected entry will be published in the final week of the month.
Poems can be about anything at all, but contributors must currently live within the Bushwick area or have been born or raised in the neighborhood.
To get your creative juices flowing, below is a new poem by Xavier entitled “Thoughts and Prayers”, which makes a political statement about gun control and current events.
Cover image courtesy of Alvaro Serrano
THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS
by Emanuel Xavier
“Your silence will not protect you” – Audre Lorde
thoughts and prayers equal silence.
i will not remain silent
psalms not poems blood-stained in sutherland springs.
spoken words of the devout ricochet above baptism of carnage.
no more chanting.
another exodus of souls sent to meet their maker.
the view outside my window changed on 9/11 never to be forgotten.
the skyline is not the same.
there was a time soon after, brief but profound, when america was great.
guns still keep my sisters and brothers in check, perhaps more than ever. color is irrelevant as bullets pierce skin.
forgive the shooter for his mental illness, personal revenge, anger,
never terrorism if he believes in god not allah.
whatever his or her name, hope they are watching us create our own hell. these arms created to protect us from one another, also kill
the paradise that was promised.
i cannot comprehend how some love guns more than people.
i have been able to admit growth and change, even reluctant defeat
the only weapons i have ever held have been pens and pencils.
as a gay victim of a hate crime, as a person of color, as someone who came from poverty and a broken home.
i have rights to fear and anger and perhaps even hate.
nothing will make a difference in the end.
pride sees no children, mothers-to-be, grandparents, married couples, families.
there will be more excuses, self-preservation, thoughts and prayers.
except for sadness and tears, all will be the same until next time.
there are no words to comfort here. there is disappointment and numbness. there is shame. there is no religion. there will be no solution.
only death and more to come.