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Mahogany L. Browne (she/her/hers) reads her poem, “I Remember Death By Its Proximity To What I Love.”

Mahogany L. Browne:

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My name is Mahogany L.

Browne. I'm a poet, organizer,  educator, the Executive Director at JustMedia,   and also the first ever Poet-in-Residence at Lincoln Center.

I'm so excited to share an excerpt from my book-length poem, I remember Death By Its Proximity to What I Love, coming out in September 2021. I remember death by its proximity to what I love the most. And the most never looks like freedom, not really.

So perfect bow and complete. The argument of Freedom is not as clean as the driven snow. Not pure.

There is blood and history there. Freedom is a container of blood. Freedom is a living document.

Freedom is an unanswered question. Remarkable position of positioning. Evergreen in the chase towards its promise.

Unchanging coordinates. Accessible to barren land. Prison lacks the imagination.

It is the constant undoing of our humanity. Atrophic muscle. Where freedom is a hopeful star.

Dream of a memory so close the long wisp of a forgotten breath. Steel bars of unease // consistent qualms // mounting absent. I remember death by its proximity to what I love because incarceration promises everyone it touches: you will not be the same.

Twenty-two years of prison is an off-balance of a dance towards your humanity. Away from true living. Uncertain chaos.

Destruction of filament and family. Life and love  are sometimes synonymous, sometimes not. I remember death by its proximity to what I love the most.

And the most never looks like freedom, not really.