“I search Craiglist for sadness: a white couch the only result.” begins “Weeks After My Brother Overdoses,” the final poem in Kerrin McCadden’s chapbook, Keep This to Yourself (Button Poetry 2020). McCadden’s latest collection is a strikingly blunt yet beautifully lyrical meditation on what it means to lose a loved one to America’s current opioid crisis.
Turn It Up! Music in Poetry from Jazz to Hip-Hop, edited by Stephen Cramer, is a vibrant and hip anthology of 400 pages, including poems by everyone from Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, and Rita Dove to Yusef Komunyakaa, Kim Addonizio, Kevin Young, and Danez Smith. The book contains 88 poets in all (the number of keys on a piano), and is split up into three sections: poems about jazz, poems about blues and rock, and poems about hip-hop.
He had been fingering his sax mutely from behind the door. “No pretending you forgot something in the living room. No ‘Oh, I’m just coming out to get a glass of water.’” Lilly had gone through these provisions like a lawyer walking through a contract, even asking him to place hand over heart and swear. “But what’s all this?” he’d said, hurt. “Don’t you trust me?” “Not one bit,” she’d retorted. “I know you, Gaurav.”
I had never heard her utter the word “boob” before, let alone “boobies.” We were a missionary family, stopping to see relatives in Finland before moving permanently (terrifyingly) to the United States. I had known things would change when we left Kenya, but I hadn’t expected this. Boobies? Really, mom?
Oldguy, invited to a white-tie banquet / honoring him for service to mankind, / mistakes his rented duds for opera attire.
Silent, a few yards apart, we picked blackberries / in the wild place Dad didn’t know about. / He knew this much: Men could do us harm. / Some pervert might follow our broken twigs
I marry a column of air. / I marry my own / freedom, and at the altar / it and I merely brush / knuckles. I marry time
Back then, you would have mistaken me for a happy person. Bright, cheerful. The kind of young woman you wanted your lost-in-his-dreams-of-moneyed-youth son to marry.
You would have thought that I was healthy. That I was pretty. That I was kind.
They poked me with a straw / sucked out some adipocytes, five bulbous bubbles.
I was a novice angler. / A junkie, nodding out, / Whispered, come a little / Closer—I’m going to / Let you in on a secret.