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  2. Before the Beauty .Or. How Could U Forget? by Randall Horton
Before the Beauty .Or. How Could U Forget?

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locate the closest overlooked neighborhood — 
      at its core extract all humans living underneath
life’s bootheel. replace with millennials cradling

postcolonial guilt, but not. ignore the woman’s
      cardboard [help] sign tattered, stained & broken
like her: imagine being long-ago unseen, erased

in between the throng, an existing non-entity. ask,
      too, if gun be an instrument what refrain whizzed
soundless amid crestfallen shadows lingering

a decade. go from “a to z” to list the dead — too many
      to name, but try: antoine, byrd, carlos, delante ...    
no deader now than then. still a memory real,

cold steel, shots fired — death, what did we know
      of dying? don’t forget love, a love strangling addicts
caught in a docetic whirlwind with no blue sail.

before the corner becomes distorted remember:
      one more time inhale deep. inhale memory to include
the bad & terrible beauty just beneath the living.

Source: Poetry (June 2017)
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Before the Beauty .Or. How Could U Forget?

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  • Image of Randall Horton

    Randall Horton is an assistant professor of English at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and the author of The Definition of Place (2006) and The Lingua Franca of Ninth Street (2009). He is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award, and a National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship. His creative and critical work has appeared in the print journals CallalooSou’westerCaduceus, New Haven Review, and the online journal The Offending Adam. Horton is a fellow of Cave Canem and a member of the Affrilachian Poets, two organizations that support African American poetry; and a member of the Symphony: The House That Etheridge Built, a reading collective named for the poet Etheridge Knight. An excerpt from Horton’s memoir, Roxbury, is newly released as a chapbook.

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