two poems

by Joshua Baker

the cerulean hours

my tongue claimed cerulean for itself. it was the first color i learned could pronounce my pain. and for every void it could not feed, it at least filled my construction-creased oceans. so at my desk, my prism of a palace, i scribbled until blue mistook the paper for velvet. until it apologized for not loving it more in its first life. until it apologized for all the silkened soft it could not be. and at this desk, my mansion of a mirror, i shed until blue mistook skin for home. until it apologized for all the rage against the wind it had been. until it apologized for all the times it did not simply fly with it.



four black men in a car
at any given time
is communion.
a remembrance
for all the vacant
they have become in
their limited lifetime.
black boys learn young
a car is not bulletproof.
neither is their hope. 
nor is their body home
to anything 


to anything that can
not be reduced to
to anything that will
not fit in an obituary. 
they will drink
of the night sky
becoming full
from its opaque
and call it the blood
of their savior.
they will wipe the 
remnants from their mouths
—dreaming of days when 
they will thirst no more.

Joshua Baker, MSW is a recent graduate from Alabama A&M University. He has had work published in Out Loud HSV: A Year in Review (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), Hypertrophic Press (2017). He has featured at 100 Thousand Poets for Change Birmingham, The Flourish, TEDxAAMU, and on Out Loud HSV on Air. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, This Here Side of Creation and Love Poems & Other Ways to Lose A Poetry Slam.


Photography by: Teo Lê