The Lectern

Just beneath the floor
in the basement there
bullet holes intact,
erect as a lanky body
sprayed, a monument
collecting its dust, the lectern
behind which Malcolm X stood
‘fore a shotgun sawed off
his life. It can be found
down a flight of stairs
                                                         holding on
to what’s left of the air

what else can
say it shared the same
holes as Malcolm’s chest,
touched his hands
just once—one more
again ‘fore he fell to the floor,

mouth gaped & emptied

who will take into evidence
a pulpit’s last testimony
bear open secret
after the hush—a mopped
floor, just before the next rental
fills the Audubon with laughter—
dance while Malcolm’s
ghost, still at the podium,
recites the words
                                                       Hold it
again & again

& again




Red Leaf Tree in Summer

It is August & the trees stand still
green from summer because it is in fact summer
yet there is one tree, if you happen to
look from your car window
while riding or driving on the thruway,
with all of its leaves turned crimson, already
as if to say look at me & how I bleed
among the rest & I want to write a poem about
how summer doesn’t want to spend time
here anymore, how the earth changes
her mind & how the sun used to play
longer with trees, how strange
red leaves hang on branches in August
but there it is, this simile ringing in my head—
this red leaf tree surrounded by a forest of green
like a Black body holding on to what’s left of itself
& so often, I want to run from this type of poem

tongue swollen from biting too
hard on the words: Here is this Black body—
another one—shot—holding the wrong
object or /nothing at all/in a car/in a corner
store/on the side of the road/on the night
before graduation/or a wedding/on a regular
walk home /waiting to taste the rainbow
another Black body
a familiar kind of death.

& I still want to write a poem about a red leaf tree
hold a remnant of it here
but instead I have added more Black bodies
to the Black bodies I was already holding in my mouth
I want to have this art whittled into submission
till it’s smooth like a bullet
till it chokes on its own dust
till this type of poem, in particular, becomes unnecessary
but a poem
can’t swallow a bullet
the way a Black body can



Dragon breath

Last night, I shredded
the last of these letters & broken wishes
lit flame to lavender & sage
thought to myself how
a broken toy is still a broken toy
but ain’t it like a Black woman
to make it into a new kind of play

This early morning
I’ve made room on my face
for the sun, my eyes squint awake

I realize every minute
that has ever passed
in my life, I was
becoming my future
and she, believe me,
breathes fire when she wants


Originally from Bridgeport, CT, D. Colin is a poet, performer, visual artist and educator living in Troy, NY. She is the author of two poetry collections, Dreaming in Kreyol and Said the Swing to the Hoop. She is also a Cave Canem, VONA and New York State Writers Institute fellow. She currently curates and hosts, Poetic Vibe, a weekly poetry open mic at Troy Kitchen. She also teaches workshops for schools, organizations and facilitates a weekly creative writing workshop at Root3d in Albany.

D. Colin’s visual art stems from an array of influences- a love for Frida Kahlo, Mickalene Thomas, the vibrant colors of Haitian art, and Hip Hop. Her work has been displayed at gallery shows, cafes and as a curated exhibit at Urban Art Gallery in collaboration with photographer and partner, Robert Cooper. She is currently working on an exhibition project to be completed in 2020 and runs a handmade, do-it-herself, arts business.

D. Colin has been involved with community theater since 2009 writing and acting with Black Theater Troupe of Upstate NY, Sandglass Theater, and Creative Action Unlimited among others. Her own original play, Simone, debuted at Capital Rep Theater in 2019 and she has received the League of Women Voters Presidential Award for her reenactments of Sojourner Truth.

In 2019, D. Colin was honored as Resourceful Woman of the Year in the Arts by YWCA-GCR and one of The Collaborative’s Creatives under 40. She holds a Bachelors in English from Southern CT State University and a Masters in Africana Studies from University at Albany.

In her rare spare time, she likes to eat pistachio ice cream, visit used book stores and think of ways to change the world.