the night i was to meet my brother for the first time in 23 years he ain’t show / absence is not what comes up from that memory / more it was the dusk in September / how fog can hide a growl / more it was how i cannot attempt this with out seeing police / all seven / with hunger & dogs / earlier that morning another brother confirms rumors / true how we come from a family of warrants / he say when you meet him you’ll meet memory / he say he has a language for going to the store in chicago / babies not yet built / bullet quick / that like you he found hip hop being beaten on the southside and kissed it until it crawled inside his mouth / like you he has a proverb for everything that hurts / that before adoption our home was a drug house / that gangs kissed everything / left lip stick on boys who laughed too loudly for the living room/ give him a pen and he can tell you who called the cops / how they come / how gun point became sign language / who was beaten / who was built for bullets / how drug trafficking is not what comes up from that memory / 23 years later / knocks on a door feel like footsteps / police raids are common in south minneapolis / dogs got guns in their growls / police are communicating in a language of hunger / you’re so thankful / he was no where / to be / found
Added: Monday, February 20, 2017 / Evol’s poem was awarded First Place in the 2017 Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest, sponsored by Split This Rock. Sheila Black lent her generous acumen as judge for the contest.
Keno Evol is the founder and executive director of Black Table Arts, an arts based organization centering on conjuring other worlds through black art, by connecting creatives and cultivating volume in Black Life. Evol is a six year educator having taught at nineteen institutions across the state of Minnesota. Evol Teaches Black Voices at Washburn offered through TruArtSpeaks, a course centered on providing MPLS students an opportunity to engage with black literature, theory and the craft of poetry. He currently is an editor at The Loft Literary Center Manuscript Critique Services. Evol has received numerous grants and competed nationally as a spoken word artist. Evol has performed, taught workshops, and led professional development in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Washington, DC, Arkansas, Minnesota, and New York. He has gone on to teach spoken word poetry in high schools such as Brooklyn Center High, MNIC High, PYC, Paladin Academy, Creative Arts and John Glenn Middle School. He has appeared on TPT and Urban Perspectives.