July 1, 2015

Three Poems By Deonte Osayande: "Twisted Origins", "Raven", "Disappearing Search"


Deonte Osayande is a writer from Detroit, Mi. His poems and essays have been published in over a dozen publications including Word Riot, The Missing Slate, and New Poetry From the Midwest and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has been a member of the Detroit Poetry Slam Team multiple times which he now manages. He's currently teaching at Wayne County Community College, and through the Inside Out Detroit Literary Arts Program. 

               
His new chapbook, Cover The Sky With Crows, is available here: 
http://eljpublications.com/available-titles/cover-the-sky-with-crows/






Twisted Origins


I can't pretend to know
what war did to the brain of the man who used to be the boy


I grew up with. Since childhood we've been balloons, bursting
with our faults. I thought as adults we were both no longer


swollen with the tempers of our adolescence, no longer shaken
by the tremors of our concealed pain. I can't act


like I know how that boy transformed
into the guy I saw in the mug shot. There isn't preparation


for learning that you grew up with a monster. Nothing
gets you ready for the next time you look his little brother in the face


and wonder whether he'll weather being aware of whatever
evil lives in his older sibling. The specter of guilt


over not being able to do anything to change his path
follows me. I can't prove that there was anything I could have


done. I never got to meet the now departed
mother of his daughter or even their child, now left


behind, with no parents, into the care
of people none of us know.




Raven


My little brother has a whole lot of mouth. The boy
won't stop talking, squawking
as if he just hatched from an egg and is hungry


to bite off more than he can chew. My mother calls him a baby bird
hanging in a murder of crows. She's saying he flocks
to the wrong crowd of black birds


but in certain areas our lives may be dangling
from trees quite literally anyway. My mother hates
when I travel. She wants to keep me at home,


to keep the both of us safe. She knows when I'm away I walk
around the ghetto, take the bus, ride the train. Show me the hood
and I will show you a nest. I know


how to become a raven and I can recognize a vulture
when I see one. I've seen so many boys like us lose their lives
before they gain wings and learned how to fly.


without anyone shedding a tear. I know how urban gravity works, why
the trap has it's name. It's been hunting season
for us for hundreds of years now. Why wouldn't we know how to blend in?




Disappearing Search


My niece asks if the police ever found
my friend. I have to tell her the truth


about when black girls go missing
how they become change, small to most


of the country, forgotten. They aren't searched for
in the same way keys are. They have worth,


power, value but to most it isn't enough
to be bothered. My niece asks if it bothers me


and I have to tell her how it's been
two full calendars since


the last time we spoke, and six months ago was the last time
anyone had heard from her. When her face showed up


on the news that December morning I still couldn't believe
what I was seeing, considering how she didn't live anywhere near


here. I remember our first time meeting, on a greyhound bus
in Memphis, heading our separate ways. Once again,


here we are going in different directions, except
now my worry has been unlocked in ways I did not previously


know. How many black girls have had their pictures posted
online by family and friends I did not know


because they too went silently into the night? My niece
asks me if this disappearance is why I hug her so tight. I don't answer.

~Deonte Osayande

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