Alice Neel, "The Black Boys" (1967) on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (photo by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)
in this house

we raise our voices
we are raising up black boys in this house
in this house, some days our voices stay raised high
other nights we are soft whispers
black boys are becoming black men in this house
in this house black boys blossom
black boys bloom
black boys cry or laugh
black boys be brilliant in this house
this is a black boys house filled with love
we don’t let fear into this house
we know fear intimately,
but we don’t let it enter these doors
this is a safe house for black boys becoming black men
this is a safe house for black men who were once black boys
this is our house and these are our suns.

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JP Howard

JP Howard is an educator, literary activist, curator and community builder. Her debut poetry collection, SAY/MIRROR, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Find her at her...