The Evolved Man of the Week: Morgan Varnado

Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s ‘Evolved Man of the Week’ profiles. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved man, famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to fellow Chicagoan, artist, and poet, Morgan Varnado.

Morgan poetry breathes life into the meaning double-consciousness that all black people in America must deal with. Navigating blackness in a white world. He came of age in the era of Trayvon Martin, #BlackLivesMatter, and a black President.

“At the beginning of my poetry career, I talked a lot about black death,”… “That was the lens I looked through for years. I’ve changed. My poetry has changed. I’m tired of believing I might die. I’m tired of writing about that.”

Morgan Varnado has hosted a plethora of open mics and is considered a veteran writer just at the tender age of seventeen. He has been inspired and mentored by many local Chicago poets. His poem titled, Dung Beetle, won first place in the 2018 Rider University High School Poetry Contest. It beat out various entries from across the country to take home the prize. These days you can catch Mr. Morgan Varnado at Louder Than a Bomb, the MC Olympics, YAS! Fest, or your local open mic night in Chicago. As he ponders college and life post high school. Whatever the future holds for this talented young man, Morgan knows that poetry will be a part of that future. Here’s Morgan Varnado’s award-winning poem, Dung Beetle, in its entirety:

I want to smell, somewhere, the rancid earth I’ll call home,
the skunk soup I’ll use as bath water,
the trash stuck under my back, the gook
that I will become used to pushing as my occupation.
To roll the mess that accumulates under my shoes,
till it becomes twice my height and three times my weight
and looks more statue than a wall
Of s—. Than me

A dung beetle walks into a room with its mudball
first and itself tagging along behind,
it lets the gross take up the most space on the page,
lets the dung become the most recognizable thing about it.
I just wanna know how to push my disgusting with pride
instead of mulling around with it seeping, hidden in my pockets

We at the Evolving Man Project wish Morgan Varnado all the best as he continues his ascent towards greatness. Perhaps he’ll join so many others who inspired #BlackBoyJoy both past and present, men like; James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, or Chance the Rapper. Today we honor Morgan Varnado as our Evolved Man of the Week.


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