[New Poem: Lost Shape.]

 

My body,

growing slender like lost shapes

and paradigms

dirtied slacks, rusted basons, and worn tools.

It’s left the old parts on the hillside to lay amongst the mocking eyes.

Watching.

They are an audience -conspiracy- and I am a leper on display.

My body,

growing cold- empty like shells.

Allowing fingers to trace itself in an infinite darkness.

Stretching out snatches of skin.

Crying.

This body,

growing old like dust tracks.

Was once a not so sacred shack.

Opened like lips before trembling. Abused. Unloved.

Touched frequently and turned over in soiled hands.

My body,

left alone like an awful chill.

Singing to itself, trying to rouse warmth from the ebony shrouds.

An Involuntary Recognition of Life

Some calm . . .

setting like sun done come upon me

as I find pieces of myself that were kept away for birthdays, family gatherings, and first dates.

They lie tucked under the bath house bed.

My palm, pressed to skin, feels like solace and I feel still

Laying transfixed, still. . .

My eyes find some man being fucked, violently

His head bent low.

and I saw you laying parallel.

Playing majorette with a couple of torn heart-strings.

Twirling about with some other man’s ruined symphony.

You blew smoke- thick like illusion – and sang of worlds where we weren’t prey for White men eager to waste salt on our endings.

Some part of me sat with you back when food was homemade and basons were bath tubs and we laughed at uncle Floyd’s missing teeth

and dirt roads that no one can drive on

and night’s out and even crack pipes

and we laughed.

And thought on how ghetto life seemed easy compared to this numb terror.

Still . . .

Barely understood thoughts: gold bands and dark skin

Sarah Bartman

melon patches

mule bone

Hurston and Hughes.

gin joints

spades tables

grandma’s hands

reconstruction

a month of Sundays

Loretta

pale skin and Betty Gene

South Carolina

insertion and pain

bleeding at the start

black balls

white dolls

and minstrel shows

money shots, towels and still . . .

we all lay under some White man’s gaze.

When Our Names Ring Out

What is the life of a young Black boy lost worth to the society? What is the social price of the Negro lived experience? How are we remembered?

The specter of the prison system and society ambivalence to my plight as a Black male has always followed me. I grew up watching my grandfather battle white gentrifiers over everything on our, formerly all Black, street. I grew up fatherless because he had 22 years of his life stolen from him by the State via the prison industrial complex. My cousin, as brown and as bold as he was, found himself facing the inside of a cell for fighting a police officer that spit on his face. These three men and their experiences with the White power structure of the State shaped my understanding and fear. We are demonized and oppressed on various levels.

Recently, a childhood friend of mine was found shot to death on a corner. When the bourgeois press gets there his pockets will be searched for drugs, his person for weapons and his life for any narrative deemed good enough to vilify him. When we leave this planet, it is often without sympathy for the hell that we suffered through here due to this poisonous system. This poem is for him. We are beautiful. We shine like coal pressed. Our lives are important and precious and worth honor. All of us.

I Hope You Had A Good Day

In remembrance of high top fades

and scratched up Jays

and crack mothers hollering at the top of their lungs

and Wedsdays filled with forced Bible study sessions.

In remembrance of you I speak this poem.

Being Black ain’t easy when life is like this.

We who been through hell and mud

sweat and exploitation.

steel shackles and watching the colored only discos burn down.

We who breathe life rhythm into music

bass

a cool blue in the fields of the Delta

and fish fries.

We stand here crafting our lives out of this given nothingness.

On corners flanked by able-bodied men.

In kitchens decorated with the help.

Picket signs and pigs

pin-stripes and pot handles

bus boycotts, crack and the failure of the Panthers all wrought a now like this.

I remember small specs of dirt covering the red in your hair.

And the way you smiled.

Some small laugh covered in congestion and a slight optimism.

Standing like the first fall of snow

or mama’s voice on good mornings. . .

both rarities in our lives.

Wrapped in shrouds made of dreams

and the mockery of freedom flags.

I remember a laying of hands guiding us to shore in Summer.

Forever fields and a life filled with wonder

Not corners, stalked by death, where we fight and fall

Where images of how our childhoods use to be dance about on gin bottles and coke cans.

Begging us to be reality

Got a text that said they found you dead

Bleeding out and alone.

No harder words were read.

No one deserves to die alone.

How now can I explain the current movings of Earth and thought?

How life was with you and the falling of grey

This poem closes with a something often sought.

Like shaping of the very clay

I hope you had a nice day.

Black Wealth

People often ask me why I am such a avid promoter of Black love, meaning why am I always saying that Black people need to couple with one another.

“Are you close minded?”
“Are you racist?”
“You are discriminating.”

Not even. In a world where Black people are alienated from themselves, and taught that they are not beautiful in the eyes of one another, it is important that we begin to combat the ways in which that wicked psychology manifest. Advocating Black love is not denouncing interracial couplings but instead acknowledging that which has been lost. Black self worth.

“Black love is Black wealth” – Nikki Giovanni