Saturday, June 13, 2020


About Kenyatta Jean-Paul García

Kenyatta (aka Kenning) Jean-Paul García (b.1977) is a diarist, humorist, antipoet, and editor living in Albany, NY after growing up in Brooklyn and Queens. Xe spent most of xyr life in the restaurant industry and holds a bachelor's degree in Linguistics.

The first collection, Distilled! and A Northern Elegy is a split-volume consisting of shorter pieces and one long piece about an adopted hometown. The second collection, Back Pocket Book, is where poetry meets journal and chronicles a year as expressed in stanzas. This Sentimental Education, Yawning on the Sands, Past and Again and Playing Dead are explorations of long-form poetry. While ROBOT is a conceptual poem based on TS Eliot's the Waste Land.

In addition to being the editor at Rigorous, the Operating System, and Five 2 One, xyr work has also been featured in BlazeVOX, eccolinguistics, Brooklyn Rail, Horse Less Review and Dream Pop. Slow Living is also available from West Vine Press along with They Say and Never Read.

@kjpgarcia on Twitter
@kenyjpgarcia on Instagram

In their own words:Kenyatta JP Garcia currently resides in Albany, NY after spending their youth in Brooklyn and Queens.  They spent ten years as a cook after graduating from SUNY Albany with a  BA in English/Philosophy.  

Since leaving the restaurant business, they have received a second BA in Linguistics and work the graveyard shift where they spend my nights putting boxes on shelves. They’re also the author of Slow Living (West Vine Press), Yawning On The Sands, Enter the After-Garde, and This Sentimental Education.  And, an editor at Rigorous. 

Spread the words:

Kenyatta JP García


It’s strumming down
     the shingles
    as a celestial guiro.
We know this sound Jibaro,
    this and the goat’s toes
    and the splashing
    it sounds like the first
        day of exile.
It plucks as we did
those strings
    when we knew
    that the poets were
it’s the same
heard for centuries
    back to the reason
    for Passover.

It’s a change from the snow
    of troikas
    and Cossacks,
It’s a change
    from the winds
        that filled
            every sail
from Agamemnon
    to the Conquistadors
to under wing
of stukkas
to the whistling caverns,
        and berms.
Sopranos to the bass
    of explosions.
    was it ever in Eden?
Only in the Exodus
    the first exodus?
But it’s a change
        from the arid
the aridity
that turns one
    to dance
even when
they can hear
        the hooves
    and rifles
leaving from cities back east
bound for them.

But it’s also
    the humidity
    the home of mosquito
        and malaria
    and the weapon
    of those
        certain places
            where no
                conqueror won.
Those swamps
        and jungles
    left to
        and aborigine-
Right Jibaro?
    Hermanx under plantain leaves
    Beside yucca roots
        and cane.
Hermanx run off
    for survival-
    for freedom-
        for the homeland.
Hermanx who welcomed rain
    just as those
        on mountaintop
    prayed for landslides
        to stop the pursuers
And to make each of their footsteps
        it’s never enough
            to extinguish
                those fires
    we made
    to eat
    to stay warm
        to signal our kin
Our family
    on Bedouin trail,
        in moccasins,
            in the rice paddy
Our clan who know
        walls are worthless
    and legacy
    is a story
        which only grows
    There’s a language
        as rain
    which keeps coming
        to sink
    and his chosen animals.
It keeps coming
    for those without boats
to drown
those who do.
It’s in the Highlands
    and in the notes
        passed cell to cell.
It’s on the street corner
    and it’s more song
    than the drums,
fife and strings.

And Moro,
    rain washes
        your blood
    through it all
so you can suffer
    same as you conquered.
Rain washes
    your script
    takes the faces
        off coins
    but never turns copper skin
        to green
Never makes the swarthy
            and olive
    but free,
at liberty
    to let the rain
        wash the grease
    the cooking oil,
        the mechanic’s fuel,
            the lubricants
                of guns,
    the sweat
        of wearing
            the wrong color
Makes the hair
    as those dashes
        between the dots
used to surrender
    and plead
        for help
and also deceive.
Straight as fibers
    crossing on the loom,
As arrows
    and oars.
Rain, it erodes mortar and
    takes foundation
        from the houses
    we wish to forget.
It’s the ocean
    that’s never angry
        with us.

No comments: