Early March in the cold pouring rain, I made my way west on the M-8 bus toward the LBGT Community Center on 13th Street near 7th Avenue. The poetry reading that night, on the second floor at the Bureau of General Services—Gay Division bookstore, was featuring two friends of mine, Jerome Ellison Murphy and Lonely Christopher. Because it was such a stormy night, I was determined to show up and give my support.
The third poet reading was Dazié Grego Sykes. I had never heard him read before. His newly published book, Black Faggotry, was available, so I opened it and read the first paragraph of the Introduction:
This book is the sound of my consciousness clearing its throat and speaking. I have opened myself up in order to explore some of the most profound experiences of my life. It is rare for me to sit down in front of a blank page and find myself composing anything upon command. I do not possess the gift of writing. This is a gift that possesses me. The words come so quickly that I have lost many poems looking for a pen. I catch it as it is born or it is lost. I have been seen running out of the shower naked and covered in soap all to capture a phrase that was flowing through my mind. These pages were all originally napkins, newspapers, hamburger wrappers, and grocery bags. These words are things I couldn’t forget or had to remember, things I needed to share or make sense of. These words hit the page one letter at a time. They were mine and now they are yours.
I don’t know if I have ever heard a poet explain himself so well before. Dazié Grego-Sykes reads from Black Faggotry in the Vimeo below, powerfully memorably honest poems by a black gay man growing up and living in America. The portraits on the wall are by the photographer, Frank Mullaney, nude New Yorkers, who added themselves to the reading, which by way, despite the rain, was well attended. Enjoy.
I don’t want to speak.
I want to scream.
I don’t want to speak.
I want to fight.
If I could peel back my skin
these are my secrets
And then the ground
All I have
is a single feather
to prove I once had wings.
Black Faggotry is published by Nomadic Press. You can check them out here:
to find out more about Dazié Grego-Sykes, you can check him out here: