John Gillespie

Black Copernicus
What is blackness,
but a patient, copernican revolution
of western values,
but a ticking rupture in the
western ptolemaic posture?
what is blackness,
but the obliteration of a worldview,
of a system that can no longer
see itself at the center
of the universe?
what is blackness,
but copernicus-in-black,
but a revolution-in-waiting,
but a universe reimagined?

I Am the Black Boy
I am the black boy
you asked for, but have yet
to learn how to cope with:
hear my tears that shed
as anti-dote to a world
that wills my death
listen to the lessons I’ve learned
from a depression that has never left
that lingers longer than my love ones can
feel an affection that never hides
from pain or pleasure
from hurt or healing
from suicidal ideation or intimacy,
from love and care.
Come and be overwhelmed
Come and receive hypervisible care.
I am the black boy
you asked for, but have yet
to learn how to cope with:
come and feel betrayed
that the black boy you created
is indeed alive and indeed a monster
open, honest and affectionate
this black boy
must be pathology.

We Tell Black Men To Cry
We tell black men to cry
and then place boundaries around
when and where it should occur
we tell black men to cry
and then insist that it is done
in a way that is comfortable
and then provide no space for them
to feel safe doing it
we tell black men to cry
and then we forced them
to do it alone
we tell black men to cry
and place a limit on the amount
we tell black men to cry
then pathologize the tears
we tell black men to cry
and then we leave them there.
Why, then?
why?
Do we tell black men to cry?

We Who Were Left For Dead
And we
who were left for dead
are slowly learning
the methods of rising
when there is no longer
anyone left
to hold on to.

John Gillespie is an undergraduate researcher at Towson University. He has published work in The Nation, Ezibota, The Activist, Grub Street Literary Arts Magazine, True Leap Press and more. Most recently, he self-published his debut collection of poetry, “Black Sisyphus.” The focal point of his creative and academic works attempts to address Black psycho-politics and suicide, the relationship between scientific developments and anti-Blackness, and radical Black aesthetics.