Digest (Gregory Pardlo)

"Outside the theater, my cousin told me when Diddy was two, they found his hustler dad draping a steering wheel in Central Park,  a bullet in his head. I shared what I knew of dreams deferred and Marvin Gaye. (When asked if he loved his son, Marvin Sr. answered, "Let's just say I didn't dislike him.") Beneath the bling of many billion diodes I walked beside the boy through Times Square as if anticipating a magic curtain that would rise,  but only one of us would get to take a bow."

"Outside the theater, my cousin told me

when Diddy was two, they found his hustler dad

draping a steering wheel in Central Park, 

a bullet in his head. I shared what I knew of dreams

deferred and Marvin Gaye. (When asked if he loved

his son, Marvin Sr. answered, "Let's just say I didn't

dislike him.") Beneath the bling of many billion

diodes I walked beside the boy through Times Square

as if anticipating a magic curtain that would rise, 

but only one of us would get to take a bow."

U.S.A. / 2014

Digest won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Gregory Pardlo teaches Creative Writing at Columbia University. This quote comes from his poem, "Raisin."

The spacing is off here, due to the spatial constraints of the text box. View the poem's original line-spacing by clicking on the above link.