Haymarket Books, the local font of socialist literature, is also, lo and behold, a publisher of Moscato-fueled existential poetry. Super Sad Black Girl (out December 13), the debut collection from 33-year-old Diamond Sharp, doesn’t reprove the investor class, the speculator class, or other gangsters of capitalism. Instead, it lays bare, in seriocomic fashion, the mental health challenges of a restless and highly resilient young woman muddling through life on the South Side. It’s partly an interior monologue, partly a dream-like requiem for Black women felled by violence. (“Me, Rekia, and Sandra are in the Purgatory Room and this shit’s getting boring,” Sharp writes.)
Although Sharp, an editor at the online music magazine Bandcamp Daily, has an extensive background in music criticism, there’s little doubt that poetry is her raison d’être. Her poems are funny, unpretentious, and profoundly self-accepting.
By Diamond Sharp
The knocking in my head was cooked in the womb.
(Mississippi folks say that the remedy
for madness in a child is caused by the mother’s backchat.)
J. F. K.’s brain blasted
from behind the week my mother’s
mother left her newborn shielded
from Chicago winter beside a West Side dumpster.
(The poor girl couldn’t bear the chatter of her family.)
The doctor asks whether it runs in the family.