ode to partynextdoor
By Keno Evol

you there/when little brother did so much / coke at the house party / the house forgot / it was inflated with a room full of black boys / from the east side of St. Paul trying to tequila their way to Taranto / they got snow to / it fall but not like we miss a homie we spent a summer with mostly trappin’ / in traffic listening to the way you explained snow / and the strip club / more like how white girls were down to create memories that shiver/ in the morning /black kids with snow skin / covered by the things that keep us / cold / when little brother passed / out got carried to the garage his body was frozen / you howled a love song/from a place only black man sing when they’ve lost you there / when Helen couldn’t get out of a dark room /frozen / depression a love song to death/things are getting intense now/ the summer we met we set on a bench watching other couples and created stories / It’s after 2AM/ and 6 months later / every shower feels like a second attempt /emailing her boss is regular practice / I know we make time for the things that we want / She still beautiful like winter / the price for snow is frost bite/eat what’s numb / go slow I’ve been up for two whole days thinking what I did / to keep you going ode to the snow / ode to friends we fought / ode to breaking up the fight and all pitching in for the movies / ode to the summer we forgot the police still had guns / ode to the summer the house party lasted 4 whole hours / ode to the house that cradle kids who if weren’t in this basement would have been reminded the police still had guns / ode to the kiss that distracted me / ode to the winter we got frost bite knowing theirs a price for holding / hands without gloves / ode to the party next door how it was an infinite ground / ode to getting twerked on and not having a floor beneath you / ode to my squad who held me up / ode to the 808 that hit the spine of every brown girl and made them glow / ode to the music that made your mothers basement as dark as a coffin / but as live as black kids / with no word for death / or morning.


Keno Evol is the founder and executive director of Black Table Arts. An arts based org centering on conjuring other worlds through black art, by connecting creatives and cultivating volume in Black Life. Evol is a six year educator having taught at nineteen institutions across the state of Minnesota. Evol is a Beyond The Pure Fellow and Verve Grant Recipient. He currently Teaches Black Lines Matter powered by BlackTableArts at The Loft Literary Center. He currently is an editor at The Loft Literary Center Manuscript Critique Services. Evol has received numerous grants and competed nationally as a spoken word artist. Evol has performed, taught workshops and led professional development in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Washington DC, Arkansas, Minnesota and New York. He has gone on to teach Spoken Word poetry in high schools such as Brooklyn Center High, MNIC High, PYC, Paladin Academy, Creative Arts and John Glenn Middle School. He has appeared on TPT and Urban Perspectives. He navigates noting Patricia Hill Collins as she has stated “My work has always been bigger than my job.”