Jervey Tervalon: Three Poems

These are poems that Jervey Tervalon wrote in 1978-9. We thought it would be a great way to see how a writer has grown over time, how he has changed, how he has stayed the same.



Walk, one thing we do is walk
walk through this smoggy dirty city
we walk dodging cars
hiding from daylight people
me and you, my brother
we walk those late night hours
we walk ’til lightshine rises over
telephone wires
we walk ’til our doggis bark
we walk to those 24-hour places
we simple folk love to walk when
the city sleeps


sudden things

All right we gonna
go out
into the world
and we gonna
The time my brother said
is now
so get your gun
But brother
I said
I ain’t got no gun
but I said
i can run
running is fine with me
I ain’t got to be a man
I’d rather stab them in the back
i said you live longer
that way


What Noah Webster Did in His Spare Time

He would touch words
and maybe
when nobody was looking
he would give their fat behinds
a squeeze

Something about the letter K.
would make him sweat
and change his T-shirt

When he could get a chance
he would make his girlie
dress up as K.

He would dance around his study
denouncing all the other letters
K’s fat behind is all he’d ever need

Noah Webster was a good liar
he long had carnal desires for F.
but K. sweet tender
beefcakes K.

Of course he had a passion for words
but words were dressed letters
he wanted to get to the bare essentials

Nobody could understand
why he on his dictionary alone

It was him and K. making bacon

What are you looking for?