Prayer for What I Do Not Want

by Amorak huey

I do not want to write a poem about a tyrant. A tyrant is not a poem. Is not a form of a poem. Is not syllable count or metrical pattern. Is not a swarm of bees wearing a poem-suit. Is not one wolf standing on the shoulders of another wolf wearing a trench coat and pretending to be a poem. I do not want to write a poem about men in suits, or wolves in suits, or sheep in cargo shorts. I do not want to write poems about videos of men in suits shooting children or other men. I do not want to write poems about suits of body armor or tear gas. I do not want my poems to be tear gas. I do not want to be tear gassed. I do not want to tear up the documents of our nation’s history: declarations and proclamations and constiwhatnots. A nation is not a poem, but each poem is a nation. I believe in words and the opposite of words. I was taught to believe what I was told. I was told to believe in words delivered by mailmen and pastors and presidents. I was told to believe in the power of the simple sentence, delivered with passion and honor by a man in a suit. Or a man standing on the shoulders of other men, wearing a bloody suit of flesh and pretending to be a poem.

 

 

Amorak Huey, a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in poetry, is author of the poetry collection Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and the chapbooks The Insomniac Circus (Hyacinth Girl, 2014) and A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road (Porkbelly, 2016). He is also co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of the forthcoming textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

 

Art by featured artist Osmyn Oree

Ever since I started photographing nudes I noticed a troubling pattern within the community of photographers in my hometown. Nudes and especially the nude female is often portrayed in a sexual or objective way. Fetishistic beauty and making women look ‘good-enough’ was something I believe detracted from photographing nude bodies. My photography aims to reclaim the nude body from such fetishizations and show that bodies, especially female bodies are far more important than just objects of beauty or intrigue. Each shoot I set out to make my photographs less about the nude and more about the meaningful portrayal of a person. I want to tell a story about the person through the photographs or give the viewer an insight into who the person is and make the nudity less about the eroticism or shock value and more about the universal sense of rawness and honesty.