Book Review: Convenient Amnesia

by  Sara Grimes The sweetness of Convenient Amnesia, Donald Vincent’s debut poetry collection, took me to new heights before unsettling me in the pit of my stomach. Vincent catches us off guard by capturing breathtaking beauty before leveling us with the realities of twisted wrongs against the Black community. The first poem, “Lucky Charm,” sets the tone: “You knew about it but forgot like last week’s newspaper / headline. / I want to whistle whimsical feelings to white women, / Emmett Till’s charm.” Convenient Amnesia summons all the appeal and literary acumen required of it as a fierce debut book of…

Zoom Funeral or is it the News?

by Donald Vincent

You are on mute, nestled in front of the computer screen, filled with boxes of blank, ivory faces. This is the usual though. You present on alternative assessments for students during a pandemic.

Nonchalantly, you say; I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, but traditional grading is a form of colonization and white supremacy.

She privately messages you that she is not offended, but how is the grading system related to white supremacy?

You tell yourself, you knew you shouldn’t have said anything, that people don’t want the truth, but prefer to live in a phantasy world of disillusionment.

Either way, you email her links on pedagogy and approaches to teaching English composition to international and multicultural students. And because you’re always the lone token, representative for blackness, you’re scheduled to fight the power and discuss those equity inclusion essays and articles, constantly doing the work for whiteness.

In the Third Person

by Donald Vincent He takes up triple space— One seat, two seat, three On the train, the ‘other’ Is always evasive. Mommy, Look, a negro. I’m afraid. It is here, he is confronted With the responsibility of race, The weight of his ancestors, A collective prison. She shushes the child And apologizes to the man— Sorry, sir. My child doesn’t realize That you are civilized, like us. The man nods his head in familiar Disgust. Being white and saying sorry Is a revolving door. He can forget the pain, The hate, he can forgive it all. He thinks, only if…

Absence of Blackness

by Donald Vincent “We need magic / now we need the spells, to raise up / return, destroy, and create. What will be / the sacred word?” –Amiri Baraka The sacred word is not, hands up, don’t shoot Nor vivre la revolution. The magic word can’t be Murmured in a state of asphyxiation. Where there are words, there is no peace. There’s no magic in the quotes and hopes of Dr. King or celebrities placed on pedestals. If The magic words are in books and historical texts Is ignorance not reading the same words echoed Years apart? Decades apart? Centuries apart?…