the louderARTS Project

Jamaal May

Jamaal “Versiz” May is a poet, producer and recording artist from Detroit, MI. He has been awarded an International Publication Prize by Atlanta Review and a Young Poets Rising jury prize from Broadside Press. His work has appeared in Verse Daily, The MacGuffin and The Main Street Rag among other magazines and anthologies. Jamaal is a Midwest Regional Poetry Slam Champion, two-time Detroit Poetry Slam Champion and two-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist. Production and engineering credits include, The Last Poets, Dead Prez, and The Four Tops. Jamaal holds a degree in Studio Engineering, is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and a writer in residence with the Inside Out Literary Arts Project.

www.versiz.com




Triage

A tourniquet can’t pinch off a fountain
of blood spurting from the inner thigh,
so I tell PFC _____ my hand will stay here,
pressing down this strip of fabric. This flag,
once surrender-white, now scarlet,
will hold him firmly to the world.
I tell him sand boxes are filling up
with the trucks and bulldozers of his children
and army men with green
heads jutting from the sand. I say
I won’t let go when mortar fire whistles
near the field tent and the limbless
come on gurneys
from the fires. The flowers
are snap dragons; I share the details
of the garden he will raise.
As singed paper flutters around us
like a veil-black snowfall,
I tell him about the earth’s ability
to give life, to recover
from tilling and burning, about
the rivers that fill the seas that fill
the oceans that throb with the electric blue
seahorse and ambling crabs.
I tell him, over the scrape
of men dragged into the tent,
still twitching with life, that he will live,
among the other lies I’ve told all day.

 

previously published in Atlanta Review

 



© Jamaal May



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