Purchase Issue 5

Purchase Issue 5


Amaud Jamaul Johnson

Black Dragons
“Those who are bound by desire see only that which can be held in their hands”
—Bruce Leroy, The Last Dragon, 1985

Scene One: Attending Lotus Blossom

Leroy’s earliest wet dreams open
to the sky clotting dark, the late sun
wedged between the brick tenements
like a bullet lit between his teeth.
Then flashes of Bruce Lee’s exposed
torso, light like fabric gone threadbare
about him, the body becoming less
sphinxlike, less a riddle, then some
breaking, some knot of air like music
coming undone. He’s at his rooftop
garden again tossing stars, deadheading
another bouquet of arrows, disarticulating
the imagined bodies of his enemies,
anticipating some obligatory private war.


Read three poems by Amaud Jamaul Johnson in the print edition of The Arkansas International 5.



Amaud Jamaul Johnson was born and raised in Compton, California, and is the author of Darktown Follies and Red Summer. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and Cave Canem Fellow, his honors include The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, The Dorset Prize, and a Pushcart Prize. He teaches at University of Wisconsin-Madison.