December 11th: Enzo Surin Features

Photo by Lila Khan

Stone Soup Poetry meets from 8-10 p.m. every Monday at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery (located on 106 Prospect Street in Cambridge) with an open mike sign-up at 7:30 p.m. On December 11th, Enzo Surin returns to familiar ground to promote his new chapbook from Finishing Line Press, Higher Ground.

Enzo Surin, born in Petion-ville, Haiti in 1977, migrated to Queens, New York in 1986 where he spent most of his youth. A graduate of Framingham State College in Framingham, MA with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, he has counseled college students, presented on diversity related topics, conflict mediation and health and wellness. A recipient of a Salem State Poetry Seminarscholarship, Enzo’s poems have appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Soundings East, Pine Island Journal of New England Poetry, Red River Review, Firefly Magazine, Poetry Magazine, among other literary journals. He is a member of the Virginia Writer’s Club and currently serves as editor for Joy of Writing, a literary publication for Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle County in Charlottesville, VA. He founded and served as editor of Introspection, a former Wentworth Institute of Technology literary newsletter. Enzo has participated in poetry readings inNew Jersey, Chicago, New York, and Massachusetts and is a regular reader at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery in Cambridge, MA. He currently resides in Boston, MA, where he works for Bunker Hill Community College Library and looks to continue his involvement with literacy efforts.

Photo and bio from author's website, which can be visited by clicking here. A sample poem follows.

poetry in nine rounds


night canvas is serene, absent of patrol,
void of the undercover vignettes that swing
through these tenements in search of rock cubes—
the national symbol of withered urbanites.

old-laced Converses perform a high wire act
on the avenue, an anthology's written in their fade.
laughter on the corner vibrates like the bass in a drum.
outside Papi's Bodega, a chromed-wheel Escalade

multiplies the ghost of Tupac Shakur from its speakers:
I wonder if heaven's got a ghetto.
the night drowns in a native glare, suffocating
this thug air, and lays down bereft of memories.

inside, young black order chase arcade mortality
with quarters. any landscape is better than the one here.
each step taken toward higher ground feels cold and lonely—
we inherit this grief each day we step into the a.m.


these blacks faces with razor smiles
are my brothers and my sisters;
crowd of trees forms the pillars behind them,
cracked concrete forms the foundation.

stones on the side of roads filled with weed
and old tires, broke down hearts and old hymns,
have been resting for decadent years; laid to rest
for reasons that still forge through this hood:
segregation, thuglife, mismanagement of love....

their residue linking old-school and new generational heroes:
the rapper, the ball-player, the comedian—no longer
the granddads, the grandmamma, the preachers—their spirituals
lost in this modern urban parable.

we wonder why our children face the day malnourished,
when no new heroes tell them to stay away from the river;
no one tells them it is not the Nile—it is manmade on this side,
it is a battered woman, birthing dead fish from her womb.


the sidewalk
into the man
who staggered in a hooded sweatshirt,
pant leg in blood, pale as I've ever seen
dark skin, eyes loaded ready to cock-back,
his gaze landing a thickness in my stomach.

i've seen it before.
we've seen it before
in the retreat of our living room
where words come cleaner and men
in costumed clothing grapple with prepared lines.

but this isn't a movie—

—this is Winthrop and Thorndale
where an elementary school rounds the corner,
where the men in white tee-shirts hem up foot traffic;
their chambers usually loaded, but today
empty as winter flower boxes.

--Enzo Surin