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    Room 73 • Poetry Hotel 

Four Poems / London Pinkney





There is no poem to be had. There is no metaphor.

Black death is a currency. An education. A postcard.

Black death is Christmastime. Black death is a baseball card.


Run your fingers over the holographic image

of Black death face down in the street

of Black death in a cell

of Black death laying next to its pregnant wife.

The image is smooth and raised like keloid skin.

When viewed in sunlight the image

creates tiny rainbows that dance across your face.

Even in death we dance to keep from dying.

Even in death we perform.


Black death is a performance. A think piece. Black death is Black (capital B) bodies (lowercase


Such small bodies. A smotheringly silent b.




I’ll drink from any crick

that’s kind enough to serve me.

An around-the-way boy

told me our bodies

are sixty percent water.

He told me this in earnest, thinking

this thought will better my life

like a glass of water

on a hot day.

And even though

I knew this fact

I let him go on

because I was parched.


Water is water

is water is ––

what thing shoveled land

and turned water into cricks?


A man?




to float     in water is to

trust    to float is to thrust 

your hips        to the sky   

head      thrusts back into     

crick water  

arms thrust out           legs


thrust  you must trust

          your you      

the water

those slim calves resisting

treading, you think

                      back to when 

this came naturally   

you are a starfish         you

need to need to trust      

                  there is no side

of the pool for you to hold




Who’s to tell me

pleasure and homecoming

are not one and the same?

My pleasure (my home,

my pleasurecoming) is a ring shout,

the sound juba-like.

My pleasure

is a dam failure, a river

flowing over cracked concrete,

roaring the word Finally;

it is a water metaphor,

to be expected. 

We crest and trough in tandem,

showing one another:











There is a pheromonic path

that leads me to you,


and flustered.  

Imparadise me, take me



About the Author

London Pinkney is a writer. She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Ana ( Pinkney is a fiction MFA candidate at

San Francisco State University. She is the 2019 recipient of the Joe Brainard Fellowship and the 2020 recipient of the Marcus Second Year Graduate

Student Scholarship. Her work can be read in various places, including Mirage #5 / Period[ical], Seen and Heard, and OmniVerse.

She’s a lover and leftie from the Los Angeles area.


Acknowledgements: “A Black Poem” previously appeared in OmniVerse (Summer, 2020).

London Pinkney -.jpeg
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