Larry Narron: 3 Poems

Antique

It's not the heart

that broke,

it's the promise—

 

an antique

clock that now keeps

its hands

 

in its pockets,

knuckling

the springs

 

they straightened,

that now keeps

a blank,

 

numberless

face

fixed

 

on mine

as it lies

about time.

 

Creation Myth

for Kool Herc

            Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?

                                                            —Tupac Shakur

In a valley

of shriveled fire

 

escapes, he plucks

a discarded

 

cardboard box

from a dumpster,

 

tears out the staples

as if they are thorns.

 

Unfolding each

delicate petal,

 

he rubs his palms

over the creases

 

to flatten what was

thought to have wilted.

 

Here he will re-

sow the undreamed of

 

in concrete

& nourish a field

 

until it blooms

for his neighborhood's

 

pleasure: a dance

hall without walls,

 

without a ceiling,

with the sun

 

for a mirror ball,

with the whole

 

sky to make room

for their moves.


Golden Era

for Brandon, Armando, Garrett, & Joe

Long before rappers

guzzled cough syrup

to numb their tongues

 

so all their words

dulled into mumbles

that all bled into one,

 

we gathered in circles

under parking lot lights

& passed around

 

piss-colored forties—

elixirs of violence

fermented with such

 

surprising sweetness.

We cared for each

word as the serifs

 

of their letters were

so delicately sharpened,

the handle of every

 

syllable held, nurtured,

rocked into reverie gently

by the hardest beats.

 

We savored a potency

we tasted in each drop

& saved the last

 

of the poetry just

to spill it, to pour it

out for all the dead

 

emcees, then threw

bottles in the street

just to hear them shatter.


Larry Narron is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Phoebe, Santa Clara Review, The Brooklyn Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Tilde, The Boiler, and elsewhere. They've been nominated for the Best of the Net and Best New Poets.