Poem of the Week

respectfully i say to thee

erica lewis

the story of the black cowboy
began when our ancestors
were brought to this country
against their will
the first kentucky derbies
were won by black jockeys
one out of four cowboys
in the west were black
every day i suddenly feel
i want to die
kanye west vh1 storytellers full show
the dark night of the soul
“positive disintegration”
“soul loss” or the “descent
to the underworld”
“nigredo” as carl jung understood it
st. john of the cross
i am not having a crisis of faith
i am having a crisis of purpose
“oscura noche”
take off my robes
and step into the choir
faith “flickers”
as illness or realization
you don’t know who you really are
the so-called physical-material-industrial
plan for living
to go from emergence to emergency
sometimes i override my wiser self
and here we are
there is no logic
or feeling in loss
if you turn away
it will slowly devour you
a homesickness
for a place that never was
i don’t think people think about me
the way that i think about them
misread still as shit
unity is shit possible
you are a dancer
who is always really pissed
you were conditioned
assumed or habitual
that really isn’t in alignment
with who you are
tireless thought
can easily burn you out
when i surrender
i am an absolute mess
to take “night” literally
would be a mistake
happiness and sadness
the rest of the world
the beginning of a way out
a black cowboy could
sit on a bull for half a day
and still not win any money

erica lewis is a poet who lives in San Francisco. Books include all the real tears, mary wants to be a superwoman, daryl hall is my boyfriend, murmur in the inventory, and two collaborations with artist Mark Stephen Finein.
Originally published:
February 16, 2022


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