Types of Burns: New Poetry by Prince Bush and Calls for Submission in Support of BLM

Black Lives Matter. We must all do what we can, one individual choice at a time, to dismantle white supremacy—in our selves, our relationships, our communities, and our institutions. Frontier stands in unrelenting support of the protestors demanding change—we send you every prayer, every bit of energy we have. Stay safe and stay healthy and stay bold.

Below, we are publishing the moving poem by Prince Bush, and he has generously allowed it to be an inspiration for a new series called Types of Burns, for Black voices who have something to say about this moment. This may be lyric essay, poetry, photography, etc. Submit your work here.

We are also asking for folks to make direct donations to the protestors and organizations supporting them. Please donate and use the proof of that donation in order to get editorial feedback from our team. We will match 50% of all donations we see come through. Learn more about that here. If you’d like to help process those editorial requests, please contact us.

Please now read Prince’s new work.

Types of Burns

I haven’t felt superficial burns, but my skin
Color has increased. Undiagnosed, but I blame

The environment. I have carried a pot
Of scalding hot water to the living

Room distracted before and tripped
Over the television, once exploded

A candle I doused with a sprayer,
And left with a crab’s claw as a hand.

My car battery acid removed the flesh
Of a cow, salted it so it wouldn’t decompose,

Stripped the hair with calcium oxide,
Swelled thick, liquored and became full grain

Leather: my arms in a did-it-yourself terror.
Nine minutes of police weight on a black neck

Is third degree murder by law—manslaughter, lies
Between the sixth and fifth degree in burn

By damaged bone, muscle, and tissues, death on a vehicle’s
Way to the hospital—second and first by charred

Skin as malice, scorched by white and a magnifying glass,
Sun. Standing in lava, I’ve lost my nerve endings

And ran toward cool—not cold—water, gestured
For someone I trusted, don’t dial 911, with my fingers.

My call and voice asbestos, but rupturing, like
I could not breathe, even when I did breathe.



Prince Bush

Prince Bush lives in Nashville, TN. He’s a 2019 Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets Fellow and an MFA student at Western Kentucky University — with poems in The Cincinnati Review, Cotton Xenomorph, Hobart, Pleiades, Puerto del Sol, and wildness.

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