Is it mad to respect the body
in its entirety?
The living organ of skin, the
astonishment of eyes,
the limbs and digits that carry us
forth, that cut and sign,
that flourish or wither in the brown
light of labor, the sex
that makes the world again.
Of the mind,
they say it is the master of the
body, which is its slave.
Dismiss the mind’s desire:
possess the world.
What if what I desire is not
Dessalines made whole there
at Pont Rouge,
not resurrection but another
of a bright danger,
assemblage of a new heart.
they had founded a country, rose
to claim their state, made Blackness
the mouth of freedom . . .
in this poem, do not use the word revolution
use instead a slow swelling of light that begins at a
beginning when the scar-giver forges the scar and forgets,
and the bearer remembers indelibly the mark on the body,
recalls how a mark can be made on a body. in the ear
a clear consciousness whispered. use reply because peace
is a place free of trouble. a blue firmament, a gold sun that
touches the skin. use instead the equalization of all suns, the
standing next to, the standing for, rotation, and the equi-
librium of stars: objects held together by their own gravity.
grave is the flame of a dissonance. grave is the mind honed
with the vision of its unity. grave is the fist raised of the body.
Danielle Legros Georges is a poet, educator, and translator. Appointed Boston’s second poet laureate in 2015, her work has included collaborations with literary and visual artists, museums, and galleries. Her honors include fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Boston Foundation, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium and commissions from the Trustees of Reservations and the Boston Public Library. She teaches at Lesley University.