Somewhere far in the distance,
our orange and pink dawn
breaks into flashes.
our sky into ashes,
our cumulonimbus bond.
In some hell far away from
blue skies and
our little clouds that always ask,
our storm rages on,
and we’re roaring thunder.
until we float away from each other,
and the sky that we built
~Ralvell Rogers II
Ralvell Rogers II is a senior English major creative writing minor at Emporia State University (ESU) where he works as tutor/editor for the William Allen White Library Writing Center, and is active president of the Black Writer’s Club. His work has been accepted and published by local journal, Tittynope Zine, and the ESU literary journal, Quivira.
Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work often features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She was a 2016-17 writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. In 2017, Hall curated the first international visual art exhibition featuring beneficial bacterial as the subject matter and medium of artists of disparate disciplines and scientists whose work crosses boundaries into artistic expression.
As an art writer and scholar, Hall’s peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.
6 thoughts on “The Sky That We Built – Ralvell Rogers II”
Strong work–and the title of this poem sounds like a great title for your first book!
Patricia, thank you for your reassuring feedback. Even though the title of this particular piece is not the title of the overall project it is included under, it is certainly a pivotal moment in the thematic movement I’m attempting to capture. A moment I hope readers will enjoy.
Congratulations, Ralvell for all your literary honors and publications. What I loved about your poem was the ethereal use of clouds as metaphor and the ingenious way you included colors: orange, pink, black, blue, white, surrounding low flat thunderheads that break away. Still, there is a hope that lingers of possibility: a regrouping and coming together in the future. I love poems that cleanly create images and you have done this beautifully. Write on, young talent. Annie N from KC
Annie N, Thanks you for your detailed feedback. The ambiguity and possibility of a rekindling at the end of this piece was certainly purposeful, and I’m glad you enjoyed the imagery as well. I wrote this specific piece while looking at the setting sky at the edge of Longview Lake in KC. You should check it out sometime.
I love the little clouds that always ask “Why,” and echo what Annie Newcomer said about use of color and leaving hope. I usually don’t care for rhyming poetry but you’ve done this so well you’ve made me overcome that, great use of rhyme.
Thank you for your feedback, and I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed this piece despite the rhyming included. Something I’ve been wrestling with the most in my poetry is engaging readers with rhyme, while also engaging the ideas and images enclosed within each poem in a very still manner. So it’s nice to hear that it worked this time around.