Crips & Bloods

Amaud Jamaul Johnson



On occasion, an incident, although the boys

always peppered the raw meat, and knotted

a wrung beach towel to toughen the jaws.

And they marched them chained around

the block, stumbling as if locked in some

distended and unbroken descent. Of course,

you would come across one lowing beneath

a shade tree, too weak to turn its huge head;

unearthly thing, more muscle, more a fluid

bone, an organ composed of mouth, of torso,

impervious to pity, even with the gadflies

lacing and unlacing its wounds. And every

other year, the toddler who lives without fear

who dies gulping the terrible rose-soaked air.




Amaud Jamaul Johnson is the author of Darktown Follies (Tupelo Press 2013) and Red Summer (2006). A former Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, he teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.