YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=dqYRrBauxwg
Previous: When I’m Away From You, I Feel Like the Second-Place Winner in a Bee-Wearing Contest
Next: Oliver Baez Bendorf reads "Love and the Bodega"

Categories

Statistics

View count:15,243
Likes:1,629
Dislikes:2
Comments:82
Duration:02:28
Uploaded:2019-10-04
Last sync:2020-10-12 22:30
Jonny Sun reads a poem by Eve L. Ewing, imagining what Emmett Till would have been like if he had lived to become an old man living an ordinary life.

Brought to you by Complexly, The Poetry Foundation, and poet Paige Lewis. Learn more: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/

Jonny Sun:
https://www.jomnysun.com/
https://twitter.com/jonnysun

Eve L. Ewing: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/1272-1919

11 issues of Poetry, subscribe today for $20: https://poetrymagazine.org/OursPoetica

Follow us elsewhere for the full Ours Poetica experience:
twitter.com/ourspoeticashow
instagram.com/ourspoeticashow
facebook.com/ourspoeticashow

#poetry #ourspoetica
Hi my name is Jonny Sun.

Today I'll be reading "I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store" by Eve L. Ewing, and in Eve's words she had written this poem imagining what Emmett Till would have been like if he had lived to become an old man living an ordinary life, and I think it speaks to the profound beauty of ordinariness and of normalness and of mundanity.

And I think it speaks profoundly to what Emmett Till lost, so I wanted to honor that with this reading.

I saw Emmett Till this week
at the grocery store

looking over the plums, one by one
lifting each to his eyes and
turning it slowly, a little earth,
checking the smooth skin for pockmarks
and rot, or signs of unkind days or people,
then sliding them gently into the plastic.
whistling softly, reaching with a slim, woolen arm
into the cart, he first balanced them over the wire
before realizing the danger of bruising
and lifting them back out, cradling them
in the crook of his elbow until
something harder could take that bottom space.
I knew him from his hat, one of those
fine porkpie numbers they used to sell
on Roosevelt Road, it had lost its feather but
he had carefully folded a dollar bill
and slid it between the ribbon and the felt
and it stood at attention.  he wore his money.
upright and strong, he was already to the checkout
by the time I caught up with him.  I called out his name
and he spun like a dancer, candy bar in hand,
looked at me quizzically for a moment before
remembering my face.  he smiled.  well
hello young lady
       hello, so chilly today
       should have worn my warm coat like you
yes so cool for August in Chicago
       how are things going for you
oh 
he sighed and put the candy on the belt
it goes, it goes.