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Reginald M Harris

Years: 1997, 1998, 2001


A Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the Cave Canem / Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize for Autogeography, his work has appeared on line and in various publications including African-American Review, BuzzFeed, Sou’wester; and The Ringing Ear anthology.



John Ford tried to do right by you

in Sergeant Rutledge, made you

the title character, a ‘star’ – but

couldn’t. Still the same old

narrative: the stoic black man

intent on saving whites.


You always played “The Namibian,”

“Ethiopia in chains,” the sweat-drenched

galley slave, was called

“My ‘boy’ Pompey” by John Wayne

in Liberty Valence

but never were

 those things. That hard dark chiseled face a mask

quietly seething, your eyes encyclopedic

daggers (or were they quiet too, blank dark lakes?)

your body tall and lean and straight

saber-sharp slicing through

every menial role, spoke silently to

one yearning boy, glued to his

TV screen: Look – Here is a Man.


You never shuffled or even

walked through my childhood

viejo. You