poet Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess
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Tyehimba Jess (born Detroit) is an American poet.

He graduated from the University of Chicago, and New York University, with an MFA. He teaches poetry and fiction at CUNY College of Staten Island and is the faculty adviser for Caesura, the university's literary arts magazine.

His work appeared in Soul Fires: Young Black Men on Love and Violence, Obsidian III: Literature in the African Diaspora, Power Lines: Ten Years of Poetry from Chicago's Guild Complex, and Slam: The Art of Performance Poetry. more »

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Best Poem of Tyehimba Jess

martha promise receives leadbelly, 1935

when your man comes home from prison,
when he comes back like the wound
and you are the stitch,
when he comes back with pennies in his pocket
and prayer fresh on his lips,
you got to wash him down first.

you got to have the wildweed and treebark boiled
and calmed, waiting for his skin like a shining baptism
back into what he was before gun barrels and bars
chewed their claim in his hide and spit him
stumbling backwards into screaming sunlight.

you got to scrub loose the jailtime fingersmears
from ashy skin, lather down the cuffmarks ...

Read the full of martha promise receives leadbelly, 1935