In Another Country

-Inspired by James Baldwin’s “Another Country”


In the Other Country-

we each try to mold the other,

unsurprised – though unfulfilled –

when we break

And punish each other as the wicked

With shifty gaze

We hold each other’s faces

With pinching speech

We demonstrate for our gods

Disclosing only demands

Exposing only our might


With feet planted firmly

Far enough to not know your face

With want for human touch

Of human taste upon my lip

We reach for ones who cannot know us


They do not want to know us

Those that cannot see the real

Be here, guzzle hot coffee,

Polish worn and shattered glass,

Fear drowning under unrelenting rain


This is when we beat each other

With looks, and fists,

And thin thin lies

We want to be caught

Cheating, we want to be charged

For playing it safe

For praying for better days

while hoarding our meager gains

hedging our bets on what we’ve got

we barely want. To win another day

in this game we know is wrong

and did not make. But will not quit

And so weary and resigned, we play


We want to feel the full extent

Of our blinding, righteous hurt

And still hold fast from being burned

So target those who love as deeply

As they know themselves, we hurt

because it isn’t enough. For us,

the unfeeling and unfelt


In light of fully-bodied love

We charge within our masks or shells

our putrefied, shrunken selves

our treasured trash & gloried gore

vacuum-sealed. Our knuckles pressed

and stiffen with rigor mortis.

This poem is about: 
My country
Our world


Annette M Velasquez

Stunning... This shows such a high level of technique and knowledge of poetics. Your use of language, the intricacy of each line and the rhythm and tone is all, ... excellent! James Baldwin is also one of my favorite authors.

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