Susannah Burleson


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As much as it pains me to say, I’m a human and I want power. To feel my power, to have evidence of my power, in where I house myself, in who I dare to love, in how I share my art. There is nothing more powerful than someone who has been stripped of trappings only to emerge with a self that knows no bounds. Whether it be light as in electricity or knowledge or a smile, our power is contained in generations. Generating mass amounts of what cannot be denied any longer–here we are and we have been working.
For the next eight weeks, BP Review will publish a new poem that engages with the idea of power. These poems will collectively highlight the range and journey required to connect to the source, both within ourselves and between one another. Let’s go.

Descendants: Black Birds from the Film about a Flying Elephant

Our ancestors aren’t here anymore,
but they are mammoth.
Driven to extinction by early humans.
Take up weapons.
See something of value, so hunt.
The making of tools is the mark of high intelligence.
Carving wood and stone and metal until sharp enough to pierce.
Useful enough to further the species. Tools made by black birds.
We stand above the trunks growing from roots,
our home on top of branches.
Power lines even. The winged ones observe the predators.
A new breed wearing army fashion.
Check mark, the Nike symbol.
Slay written on a red sweatshirt.
We now place our luggage side by side.
A new breed of hunter.
Arrows pierce the hearts of lovers, the winged assailants.
The bow and arrow. The bough where birds watch.
Winged ones give up their lives
to be consumed, become a part of human flesh.
Human flesh now one with what they consume.
They crack a wishbone, hoping.
–Yuki Jackson
Special Poetry Issue Editor


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