National Poetry Month Day 30: Tyree Daye

By

Tyree Daye is a poet from Youngsville, North Carolina. He is the winner of the 2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize for his book River Hymns (American Poetry Review, 2017).

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Field Notes on Leaving

There will be a day sometime in the near future
when this guide will not have to be published.

– The Green Book (1949)

The North Star is irrelevant
miles and miles above my head,
I do not want the constellations
any nearer, I know there are whole cities
all over this country that are so bright
you can’t see the stars,
the sky no wider than the heart is wide.

_____________//

The night President Obama was elected
we danced in the street of our small university
to My President Is Black.
My first time on my own,
I felt like I had a father.
Every one of us was flying,
a blunt passed around, I got lifted.
My heart to lift, and all the world explore.

If there were stars I did not see them.

_____________//

We’ve never been through airport security
without being pulled to the side and searched,
to know you can die anywhere
doesn’t feel like flying.

_____________//

I can’t go to Canada
and leave my mama here alone.

_____________//

I brought my southern drawl to New York, unchained
myself from my uncle’s grave.
I explained all I could see from where I stood
and here I am. I call my dead to Harlem,
look to the starless, pray they’d come.

_____________//

If you see me dancing
I’m sending a code, someone
is escaping.

_____________//

I can’t afford to think like Whitman
that whatever I shall meet on the road I shall love,
and whoever beholds me shall love me.

_____________//

Doing the Dougie. Trying to find the ocean,
______looking everywhere.

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“Field Notes on Leaving” borrows language from Edna St. Vincent Millay, Nina Simone, Walt Whitman, George Moses Horton.


Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →