Two Poems

By Joshua Aiken


daydream of a garden
poprock lilac
little morsel of
I don’t have to
die today
reviving the runic:
the candied lithe
with fearfulness
wasted on a husk
eke out grief’s
where I confess:
stay warm.
be safe.
be gentle;
with your life
don’t forget—
they will
kill you.
and you’ll
rest not
better but
more, be
grateful for
the sweet of me—
it’s dark, tarried,
it’s clear.



City of Fighting Prejudice Plan for Innovative Community Initiative-Based Public Safety 

an erasure of the Rules of Highland Plantation (1838)


no Negro 




who can tell 
destruction from fire. 
Arrest Negroes              throughout the neighborhood.  
Seek                  amusement                 of great importance: 

Employ                         a                            quantum of 
Claim                  him for his                   services. 
Furnish                       every necessary           life 
with                                                 his expense. 
He is  
not entitled 
to good feelings. 

Never                            pass go                             without 

This is 
with                  the 
restriction:                                              he does not feel. 
Society is kept at home. 
The Negroes
with                                                           all responsibility 
at end. 

withoutgood reason 
practice                                    an uncontrollable 
right                 to be different. 
It creates a feeling from being out of the control of 
They                 plan and come                 about midday, in 
perfect idleness – feeling themselves accessible to every thing. 

This                  unsettled state of things 
might                             answer when 
to adopt rules 
to pursue a plan 
of machinery. To operate successfully 
Negroes                         who  
expect attention and exaction  
pleasure their master                       in different departments on the plantation: in the
providing watch at night— 
Negroes is everyone’s business. 

Act                     on the part of a master: 

Get your Negroes                 disciplined 
planting is 
a hell                                without            an Overseer, 
head well combed                             feeling proud.




[ Leave no Negro without a uniform. Protect persons

who can tell destruction from fire. Arrest Negroes

throughout the neighborhood. Seek amusement 

of great importance: every Negro is happiness  

you claim. Employ a quantum of performance. 

Claim him for his services, furnish every necessary

life with his expense. He is not entitled to good feelings.

Never pass go without his oppression. This is everything

satisfied with the restriction: he does not feel. Society

is kept at home. The Negroes, charged with all responsibility

at end. Negroes without good reason practice an uncontrollable

right to be different. It creates a feeling from being out of the

control of time. They plan and come about midday in perfect

idleness—feeling themselves accessible to every thing. This

unsettled state of things might answer when to adopt rules,

to pursue a plan of machinery. To operate successfully

Negroes who expect attention and exaction pleasure

their master in different departments on the plantation:

in the field, providing watch at night—Negroes is everyone’s

business. Act on the part of the master:  Get your Negroes

disciplined; planting is a hell without an Overseer, head well

combed, feeling proud. ]