Carolyn Joyner

5AM Blues

for Damon d. 12/20/2011, 5A.M.

Woke up at 5 this morning,
didn’t need no alarm.
Eyes opened up at 5 this morning,
didn’t need no alarm.
Happens on the 20th of each month,
day my son went home.

Can’t get his final gasp
out my troubled mind.
Say that deep rattling gasp
sits heavy on my mind.
Still wonder why he had to go,
leave me here behind.

Think about the man he was
I’ll never see again.
The man I knew as son,
I’ll never see again.
When I brought him into this world,
never thought I’d see him transcend.

Still yourself to quiet, they say,
somebody don’ called his name.
They tell me to hush,
somebody don’ called his name.
I plead, what shall I do?
Earth echoes my lone refrain.

Woke up at 5 this morning,
didn’t need no alarm—
happens on the 20th of every month,
day my sweet baby went home.



Carolyn Joyner has been featured in Pleiades, Obsidian, Amistad, Mass Ave Review, and the anthologies Gathering Ground, Revise the Psalm, 360˚A Revolution of Black Poets, and Beyond the Frontier. She has a Master of Arts degree in creative writing from The Johns Hopkins University, is a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Cave Canem fellow, and has been awarded two Artist Fellowship grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She lives in Washington, DC. To read more of her work: 2 Poems, It's Your Mug Anniversary Issue, Spring 2009