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'Fairgrounds': a New Poem by Jericho Brown

jericho book cover

Following the release of his latest book "The Tradition," the poet gives a new piece exclusively to Out for poetry month. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Jericho Brown is one of the sexiest poets making work today, and that's a fact. Following the release of his bookThe Tradition (Copper Canyon Press), Brown has asserted himself once again as a master of rhythm and romance. A former speechwriter for the mayor of New Orleans, Brown's body of work as a poet has not only garnered a Whiting Award and a Guggenheim, but has captured the hearts of bottoms (and tops, honestly) all across the world with his honest and beautiful depictions of queer intimacy. Here, he shares a new poem exclusively with Out. Y'all are so lucky.--Fran Tirado, Deputy Editor


I could not see the man behind me become

What we are when we are hungry enough

To turn a child inside out as one might

Turn the head of a mushroom or a flower

When one has that kind of power in his hands.

He had a kind of power in his mouth,

Could call you the pig since you were the one

Rolling from belly to back to get to your

Feet and stagger from that field, the sun

So high it brightened the depth of the meadow,

Allowed for no shadow. I did not know

To want to kill that man until I became

A man, a father looking at his own

Children, lifting them: each could be flipped, pitched

Like a small, mute stone. Yes, there are other things

To note about the white of the sun or

The grasses there, soft and thick like hair, my

Hair. I picked yellow petals from my hair.

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