Kwame Dawes

Kwame Dawes has written several books of poetry, including Shook Foil, which is published by Peepal Tree.

Story: ‘Inheritance: A Fragment’

Kwame Dawes, 21 January 1999

for D.W.

Diary: A Story of American Racism

Kwame Dawes, 8 February 1996

It’s been said more than once by a lot of different people: ‘The problem with Americans is that they have not really started to talk about racism.’ It seems a patently idiotic thing to say given all the media attention ‘race issues’ receive in this country – the O.J. Simpson verdict, Susan Smith alleging that a black man killed her children, the Million Man March and Louis Farrakhan, Colin Powell and his non-bid for office, Affirmative Action and so on and on. Anyone would think that Americans talk about race all the time: the truth is that Americans, both black and white, talk a lot around the race issue but are constantly trying to avoid dealing intimately with it.’

Two Poems

Kwame Dawes, 25 May 1995


Angelus of mercy, Al was the Pope

walking through the squalor of an unfeeling world –

yes, sometimes, numbed by his stuff, he floated among the giddy children

bestowing vials of mercy, brittle vials of mercy for the pain.

At first it was not the money, just a simple act of revolution;

a way to stir the darkness of defeated descendants of slaves

to something more volatile,...

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