On the blog of the publishing house Futurepoem, poet Dawn Lundy Martin offers an analysis of Ronaldo V. Wilson's poem "Dream in a Fair." More precisely—since the poem is, after all, a dream—she offers psychoanalysis. More precisely, Jungian psychoanalysis (kind of--she doesn't know much about Jung, she confesses).

She's fascinated, in particular, by Wilson's depiction of the black body:

There’s a black man standing at the front of the line.
He’s a midget and his teeth are yellow and gapped:
He is short and muscular but covers his body anyway with a costume.
He’s about to proceed: as a dragon, or a horse, something
where only his black feet extend from the mane.

Yellow-toothed but strong, a dragon, a horse: These depictions are insistently complex, which Lundy admires. She writes that in the poem,

There are no barbershops and street corners and collard greens (thank goodness). No contrived black masculinity. No ratta-tat-tat. His poems refuse to let us claim blackness in any simplistic way just as they refuse to allow non-black readers to look on lovingly in celebration of the so-called “other.”

In other words, "Dream" is alert to all the complexities of African-American identity.

Originally Published: September 2nd, 2010