Poem: “Dark Eyes” – An Ode to James Baldwin’s ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’

by Serina Gousby

I wrote this poem back in November 2018, after reading James Baldwin’s novel, If Beale Street Could Talk—in response to the scene when Daniel was with Tish and Fonny, and him describing the horrific details about his experience in prison. Read and listen below:

Black boy, you move me

With your fear and relentless spirit

You move me

And I see you—

More than love that loves so selfish but

Of your world, you scream to get out of


Eyes are wet as you lay alone

Fearful of the next word you pronounce

What trouble will make you different again

And again

And again

And ag—

No. don’t be afraid to hold me.

You are not property of what was done

Or the freedom you’re struggling to live


Black boy, you move me

With your gentle hands and power

You move me

And when love survives

In wind or to metal bars—I am


For you to conquer.


What is your favorite part of the poem? What stood out to you? Leave me a comment below.

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