Friday Poem: 'Hebrews 13'

A Friday Poem from Jericho Brown.

A poem from Jericho Brown's brand new collection The New Testamenta meditation on race, sexuality and contemporary American society. 

Hebrews 13

Once, long ago, in a land I cannot name, 
My lover and my brother both knocked 
At my door like wind in an early winter.
I turned the heat high and poured coffee
Blacker than their hands which shivered
As we sat in silence so thin I had to hum.
They drank with a speed that must have 
Burned their tongues one hot cup then
Another like two bitter friends who only 
Wished to be warm again like two worn
Copies of a holy book bound by words to keep
Watch over my life in the cold and never ever sleep. 


Listen to Jericho Brown read Hebrews 13 below:

The New Testament

by Jericho Brown

Book cover for The New Testament

Jericho Brown’s The New Testament is a devastating meditation on race, sexuality and contemporary American society by one of the most important new voices in US poetry. In poems of immense clarity, lyricism and skill, Brown shows us a world where disease runs through the body, violence runs through the neighbourhood, and trauma runs through generations. Here Brown makes brilliant and subversive use of Bible stories to address the gay experience from both a personal and a political perspective. By refusing to sacrifice nuance, no matter how charged and urgent his subject, Brown is one of the handful of contemporary poets who have found a speech adequate to the complex times in which we live, and a way to express an equivocal hope for the future.