Jarred Johnson 


For Jim Wayne Miller and the 301 Murdered in Soma, Manisa, Turkey

Tuesday in Istanbul in May.
The heat: a blanket, sick 

suffocating flame
nauseous in pours.

The tile roof of a hostel
one street off Taksim Square.

Inside, a British newscaster
reports about Soma.

301 trapped miners.
Underground explosion.

Prime Minister Erdogan says,
Accidents happen.

The street below, 
crowds chanting electric 

tear gas and lung,
shoe and concrete

stick on garbage lid, stick 
on stick on fist and yell

“Kaza Degil Cinayet!”
Murder is not an accident.

Tank paving path through protest.
Rubber bullet liturgy.

Half-mast against coal-blue sky,
the Hagia Sophia—

two religions,
one body. 

Distant, the bridge over Beyoglu,
over Bosphorous,


the one I witness
and my own,

301 my grandpa saw
underground in Kentucky.

Kaza Degil Cinayet. 



A mountain, 
a fiddle, 
and a cast iron skillet,
hands black with coal, 
coal black with lungs,
fathers begging sons 
become more fathers,
generations of boys 
lined up dirt roads
numbered off one by one 
by white, poor, one
till I counted their stories 
like months on my knuckles,
named each son
I would not have
lost in my loins 
as my hands,
trenched with war, 
spidered out with veins
like the Cumberland,
black with dirt,
reached out of the hills 
for something else 
dark and forbidden: 
the fruit of another man,
all of his histories, 
the summation of each 
wrinkle and follicle,
the genealogy 
of his gaping, pink flesh.


Jarred Johnson is a senior at Western Kentucky University where he studies English Literature and German—majors which he chose before knowing who Jim Wayne Miller was. His poetry has appeared in Teen Ink and Zephyrus, the latter in which he was awarded the Browning Literary Club Poetry Award. Jarred is an alumnus of the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts in creative writing and is from Somerset, Kentucky. 


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