Line/Breaks


By Clint Smith

In their song,
“Last Days Reloaded,”
when Dead Prez said,
taking my own life/
into my own hands

it was the first time I
understood line breaks.
It wasn't The Odyssey.
It wasn't Hamlet.
It was when stic.man told me
how police had made
a mockery of his home.
Mrs. Johnson had never
spoken of it this way
when she explained
it at the board,
how you could capture
disillusion & agency
in the span of one breath,
this duplicity of danger,
this split tongue.
This language that cannot be
contained by a single

                                                   space.


Clint Smith is from New Orleans, Louisiana and is currently a doctoral candidate at Harvard University. He is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion and was a speaker at the 2015 TED Conference. He loves double stuffed Oreos and The New Yorker cartoon caption contest.