Black, Family, Poetry, Racism, Reading, White Supremacy

Black Lemonade

What is there to know about a poem except that the experience of a poem should press on the most local bodies (meaning stories) to the most universal narratives like time, family, history, and freedom. The poems in Black Lemonade: poems open up to notions of choice and vulnerability in the face of seemingly no choice and impenetrability. They seek out embedded narratives, play on the page and screen with words and the infinite metaphors that words are, in the presumed minds of infinite and eternal readers. This collection takes a stand, asserts the inevitability of choice in the face of the traumatic: that choices, like poems, are easy and hard, clear and confusing, conventional and exploratory.

Is there more to life than will—in the sense of a life that requires us to project into the future— whether willing a career or a perfect life into existence, or leaving one’s possessions behind for the benefit of future generations? What moves us each day to face what life has to bring; what our bodies require in their biological imperative including the need to touch and be touched; what our eyes and hearts cannot but must surely endure? Black Lemonade: poems does not seek to answer these questions, but, through experimentation, sensuality, and humor, seeks to speak openly in the light of asking.

Black Lemonade

I’ve all these lemons biting my tongue with acid teeth drawing my usually hesitant lips into convulsive tightness, but, what color, the juice?

Will it be the color of the day citified— orange-y and lemon beatings of warm gliding through you?

Will it be clear like water purified— relieved of pulp no residue?

Maybe shades of pugilized hearts traumatized by constant deep poundings actualized black and blue?

Perhaps becomes all and one realized the essence of the light that flows through fervent juices the color of deep, dark night.

—Lawrence D. Benson

“When life gives you lemons, make . . .”

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