Harvard Review Online: "Provenance: A Vivisection".

I'm very honored to have this new poem up at Harvard Review Online. "Provenance: A Vivisection" discusses the Bodies Exhibition, an utterly ubiquitous exhibition of plastinated bodies whose origins are not determined. Years ago there was a controversy about where these bodies came from, including allegations that they came from corpse plants in Dalian, China.

I've been thinking a lot about our responsibilities as poets and artists, about poetry as a vehicle for reclaiming voices and social critique, especially in the national critical conversations on Ferguson and Baltimore, and how we've started a whole movement in #BlackPoetsSpeakOut. I recently went to a reading with Patricia Smith, and I was moved by her poem written in the voice of grieving mothers. Certain bodies are always invisible, unless they can be turned spectacular, unless they can become spectacles. 

In a culture where racialized bodies have always been displayed as spectacles in a Western context and the white body remains pure, contrasting, and whole, how can poetry allow us to speak on behalf of the missing? Are our bodies our own?