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‘lord knows’ by Kwame Opoku-Duku

— Joyce Chong

they say don’t put dreams in poems. a poem is a dream.
rules are only fun when you are the punisher.

The latest issue of BOAAT is full of gems, as you’ve probably seen, including this poem by Kwame Opoku-Duku. ‘lord knows’ is a poem that sits at the crossroads of thought, mantra and stream-of-consciousness. It’s an act of dynamics, function as process, or, the strange way a series of symbols forming words that in turn denote meaning can convey a certain state of movement.

it’s hard to be, as in, be, as in: lord knows, it’s hard to be.
they say stand completely still and never appear ungrateful.

It’s not only a lamentation of exhaustion, a contemplation of life and family and where/what/who we are derived from, but an examination of how unevenly the tiles of circumstance, of prejudice and inequity are laid out for us. Self-reflective, in the ways that only a poem can be about its own existence, measured and lyrical and meditative, ‘lord knows’ creates resonance with simplicity.

they stole my daddy’s watch, and now he never knows the time.
they told me i didn’t have enough pain in my belly to sing.