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Julian Randall

Years: 2018


Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. He has received fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT and the Watering Hole and was the 2015 National College Slam (CUPSI) Best Poet. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. Julian is the curator of Winter Tangerine Review’s Lineage of Mirrors. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as New York Times Magazine, The Georgia Review and Sixth Finch and in the anthologies Portrait in Blues, Nepantla and New Poetry from the Midwest. He is a candidate for his MFA in Poetry at Ole Miss. His first book, Refuse, is the winner of the 2017 Cave Canem Poetry prize and will be published by University of Pittsburgh Press in Fall 2018.


Obama Wants to Be Clear About His Legacy


Let me be clear     as a water stain

on glass     nearly window but not

bulletproof     I want some things

to always be constant     Legacy

is muzzled by history with good

reason    Let me be clearer still

a persistent film of dew on dying

grass    Opacity is a form of treason

I gut envelopes with a thin gold

and sometimes my own dead face

unspools and men in suits rush in

because it would be a tragedy

if I remembered I was someone

who could die     Let me be clear

my blood necessitates repetition

I am gone   I am gone  I am gone

I am grateful that the room was

round or I would have dented it

with my screams     Gratitude

is a kind of violence    I say thank

you and that yawns into a bomb

Everything I do I do with a grace

which has only ever been described

as bestial     A gazelle or a swan

I’m a precise kind of fugitive

When I was born     history stuttered

I lacquer my palms with the silence

I think it’s impossible not to miss it

Despite everything I give white people hope

Nothing will ever demand me to be

this merciless        again