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Reginald M Harris

Years: 1997, 1998, 2001


Poetry in The Branches Coordinator for Poets House, Reginald Harris was a Finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and the ForeWord Book of the Year for 10 Tongues: Poems (2001). A Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of Individual Artist Awards for both poetry and fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council, his work has appeared in numerous journals, anthologies, and other publications. Contributor to Carry The Word: A Bibliography of Black LGBTQ Books (2007) and LGBTQ America Today: An Encyclopedia (2008), he is currently pretending to work on two manuscripts.




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