Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Amiri Baraka: Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note

for Kellie Jones, born 16 May 1959

Lately, I've become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelopes me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus . . .

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I count the stars,
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

Nobody sings anymore.

And then last night, I tiptoed up
To my daughter's room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there . . .
Only she on her knees, peeking into

Her own clasped hands.

From Genius. Included in Vox Populi for noncommercial educational use only.

Amiri Baraka (1934 – 2014), previously known as LeRoi Jones and Imamu Amear Baraka, was an American writer and poet. Baraka’s career spanned nearly 50 years, and his themes range from black liberation to white racism. Although his work has often been controversial, attracting both high praise and strident condemnation, among people who love poetry he is regarded as one of the most gifted writers of his generation. 

Amiri Baraka

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