Poetics-Yusef Komunyakaa

I did not learn of the brilliant Yusef Komunyakaa until I was almost finished my Bachelor’s degree. He was featured in the text for the course and I was a goner from the first piece I read. Since then, I’ve become and ardent admirer. So this poem seemed perfect to celebrate National Poetry Month. In it, Komunyakaa layers images and literary devices that I see with the technical eye of a trained poet. However, none of that outweighs the beauty of his writing. This poem reminds me of why I write and why I fell in love with poetry in the first place.

Uncovering new poems and exploring the work of new poets is the primary reason that I love celebrating National Poetry Month.





Beauty, I’ve seen you

pressed hard against the windowpane.

But the ugliness was unsolved

in the heart & mouth.

I’ve seen the quick-draw artist

crouch among the chrysanthemums.

Do I need to say more?


Everything isn’t ha-ha

in this valley. The striptease

on stage at the Blue Movie

is your sweet little Sara Lee.

An argument of eyes

cut through the metaphor,

& I hear someone crying

among crystal trees & confetti.


The sack of bones in the magnolia,

What’s more true than that?

Before you can see

her long pretty legs,

look into her unlit eyes.

A song of B-flat breath

staggers on death row. Real

men, voices that limp

behind the one-way glass wall.

I’ve seen the legless beggar

chopped down to his four wheels.



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