However, there is earthly perfection and then there’s divine perfection. Author and visual artist Krista Franklin’s collection of poems and collages, titled Too Much Midnight (Haymarket Books, 2020), belongs to the latter category. Whereas Marin’s book highlights the ways in which the Black imagination often soars over impediments, Franklin’s work reminds us that in order to soar, there is nonetheless much personal and collective work that still needs to be done, down here on the ground. Yet that’s to be expected, because what makes Franklin’s work so impactful is that it’s fearless and visceral. It’s a visual and literal womanist intervention made to all of us; one that demands we let go of the little white lies we tell ourselves in order to get by/over/on/through/anything we want at all. Franklin spares no prisoners, herself included, and by doing so, exposes our desire to willfully ignore the moral discomforts and cognitive incongruities that confront us whenever we dismiss the fraught complications that arise from the intersection of race, class, and gender in our daily interactions and personal dynamics.
For example, take her poem titled “Alternate,” in which she writes of the other types of Krista Franklins that could be, but for a different set of circumstances and decisions. I only need to quote from one small section to illustrate how Franklin’s work can be equally as cutting as it can be illustrative of gender, race, and class dynamics: “Standing at the stove. 5 a.m. One wild-haired baby girl on hip. Pointing. ‘Skillet,’ she says. ‘Skillwet,’ she says. ‘Egg,’ she says. ‘Eg,’ she says. ‘Da-Da,’ she says. Prison, she thinks” (Franklin 56). Through the use of just a few pointed, precise words, including a contrasting verb, Franklin makes plain what countless sociological thinkpieces still fail to rightfully explain.
And that’s it, really, because after several readings of the poems in Too Much Midnight, I’ve come to a very logical, very simple conclusion. There are truly only two types of people in the world: Those who know of Franklin’s work and therefore stan for her every chance they get, and those who have not yet had the pleasure. Please do yourself a favor and join the former camp as soon as you can.