“Praise Where I Can” by Derick Ebert

Chalk lines stretch across eroding
black top, pandemonium is tasting soot
in the mouth, names become ash
when memories are buried. The earth can’t save
the hum of voices, the way Pompeii can cradle a body
from extinction, I’ve learned
home is where death is least likely
I cannot live here.

God’s house is filthy
empty trash cans loiter around
waste, has purpose to someone
all things rejected
find home.

With my handy dandy notebook
I watch Blue. Lives matter
don’t see where, in the river watch
planes pollute the sky, and laugh at the irony.

Joppa homes are
bomb shelters covered in makeup.
Don’t mistake this danger for pretty.
When the sun pulls its black blanket
across its face, souls will emerge
will find places to lay, will reminisce,
will find a reason to call this safe,
if only for tonight.


Derick is Baltimore’s former, and first-ever, Youth Poet Laureate. He has recently published his first poetry book entitled, Black Boy Archaeologist, exploring the boundaries of bi-racial identity, self-awareness, and young heartache, all while trying to make sense of the world around him. Derick has had his poems published in American Short Fiction, The Baltimore Magazine, and The Poetry Society of America.

Seth Copeland
Seth Copeland

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