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The Book of Silence

By Rasheed Copeland

We learned
from the book
of our fathers’ silence
how to speak
of young girls
in the way
old white men
speak of game
they’ve hunted
and mounted
on trophy walls.
The same book
that taught us
how to make
young girls
fake orgasms
and mourn their lost
while handling
little boy pride
with the delicacy
it requires.

This book,
void of chapters
on love,
on how to listen
to her skin’s soliloquy,
and on how to treat such
sacred treaty
of body and soul
less like a pillaging
and more like a litany
worth protecting,
is the book
from which I learned
how to both
break and be broken
without even knowing.

Added: Friday, September 16, 2016  /  Used with permission.
Rasheed Copeland
Photo by Naji Copeland

Rasheed Copeland is a renowned poet raised in Washington, DC. He placed 2nd in the world at the 2015 Individual World Poetry Slam and has also competed as a member of DC's 2010 and 2011 Busboys and Poets 11th hour slam team. As the 2010 NUSPA (National Underground Spoken word Award) winner for "Best Performance Male" he has featured at various venues along the east coast including the Lincoln Theatre, the Howard Theatre, the prominent Busboys and Poets restaurants as well as the Legendary Spit Dat. He is currently studying English at the undergraduate level at Howard University in his junior year.

Other poems by this author