Table of Contents
I. Preface 8
II. Introduction 11
To God 14
III. Regrets, Pain, and Sorrows 16
Hawthorn’s Blithedale 17
Revolution of One 18
Do My Fat Body a Favor 20
Empty Orgasms (Sexing to Survive) 21
The Mirror 24
Lowell’s Beethoven 25
IV. Memory 26
The Coz on the Tonight Show 27
The Smell of You on my Pillow 29
Pecola’s Dance 31
Daydreaming of a Wife on
the Pascagoula Beach 32
Birdland’s Angels 34
A Girl Named Chris 36
V. Anxiety 38
A Poet not by Choice 39
To You 41
[i] Hate Christmas 43
To the Musician 45
Hold on to Your Insanity 46
The Unrequited Calling (for Jonah,
Moses, Medgar, and Martin) 48
VI. Love(?) 50
The Beat of My Love 51
You Are Sex 52
The Reading of the Kiss 55
Everyday Is another Day to Fall in
Love with You 57
VII. Concerns 58
Where Is the Temple of my Familiar? 59
To Be Post-Colonial Isn’t to Be
Letter to the Northern Negro 63
God Has a Napoleon Complex 65
Tripping on my One 67
Open Letter to a College Professor 69
VIII. Suicide Note 71
IX. Reconciliation 75
Am [i] a Hypocrite? 76
To Joshua and Natasha 78
Repentance: A Sinner’s Prayer 79
Hair Complex 81
Exercise in Identity 83
The Lord’s Prayer, 1998 85
X. Dreams, Visions, and Epiphanies 86
Dream Catcher 87
Pieces of Heaven 88
Ghetto Garden 91
Revolution Is Born from Pain 93
My Psalm 95
3:18 in the a.m., and my mind won’t stop tumbling.
Outside my window birds doze,
but the video playback in my head’s cinema rolls on.
Blurred pictures of January and July run through my body;
a clammy finger rubs against my
humid and sticky emotions.
Now [i] lay me down to sleep,
but [i] seem to have missed the bus.
The paint splattering montage of wrestling colors
keeps raging swirling blues that shank olive dreams.
Spring suffers from multiple sclerosis.
Quick and sharp strokes of red,
the forest fires in my head burn the retaining wall
that separates wishes from will do,
as dashes of growling greens and yelling yellows
pour sweaty ashes into my bed.
A man’s bionic voice is the uninterested narrator
of my dime store soap opera of nights.
Prose and verse, fact and fiction, intermingle
like lint on poorly washed clothes as my ability
to perceive blurs the sandy edges of my mind’s coast.
Thus, the only reality [i] now know is Poetica,
and she is a wayward trope who sleeps with me at her will.
My memories are random snow flakes melting before hitting the jalapeno pavement of my conscience: a tingling burned wrist, the electrical surge of the pain ran from my wrist to my elbow and through the tips of my fingers.
Since then that hand holds things differently than the other,
like a scorched lover afraid to love.
…the first time [i] told a girl [i] liked her, her face was granite
with a long straight line chiseled across for a mouth,
two round eyes like lights on a train.
The train is coming; the car always loses.
She cared as much for my love as she cared for the slugs
that slide beneath the undersides of the church.
It wasn’t her fault that she was beautiful.
Life is a lottery ticket that she had clearly won.
It was my twelve year old confession
that it took my tied tongue all summer to say,
words held like fine fragile china
cradled in the bubble wrap of my mind,
only opened and released with the last flower of summer
to the cold wind of her indifference.
That train just keeps coming.
With a sigh drenched with wet wretched rejection,
saying “So, what?”
[i] was seventeen before [i] asked a female to dance.
[i] remember striking out five times in one game.
Each and every swing, all fifteen, unique in their
varying manner in which they narrowly missed the ball-
an inch and a mile is all relative.
Each grunt and sigh with its own version of hot shame.
The pitcher smiling a cat’s grin from ear to ear.
The catcher’s mouth spewing with shit talking.
The adult umpire teaches life lessons that stick
with you like gum to the bottom of your psyche,
“Come on kid, let’s get this over with.”
By the fourth at bat, your arms are tired,
not from swinging but from carrying
your heavy sandbags of embarrassment.
A Mississippi summer is a magnifying glass,
and the heat scorches you like a bug.
The fourth trip to the plate,
a pony tail cute girl with bright braces amuses,
“Here he comes again.”
The crowd roars with laughter,
becoming a sea of pearly whites and tonsils.
After the fourth strikeout, the bench is four times as far.
Who keeps moving that damn bench?
Shit…is the light bill paid…
the light bill is a humped back whale
docked on the sands of fear…
[i] mean will it be paid next month?
How about the cars?
(twin trouble tearing like termites the paper from my pockets)
Damn, is this room cold?
My scrotum seeks sanctuary in the cave of my stomach.
The last time [i] got some
is a memory wafting like a bird’s evening chirp.
The last time [i] didn’t perform well
is a memory piercing like a fire engine’s siren
with flashing lights and blaring horn.
My face flush with ignited ignominy.
Lying there board stiff, she sighs.
“Sorry ass, anorexic dick muthafucker!”
“If the muthafucker couldn’t fuck,
he shudda said so!”
She sighed again-
every sigh making my essence smaller than my penis.
Mountains, valleys, and oceans worth
of dispensing pleasure,
and [i] remember, most, when [i] clocked out early.
It’s like thousands of stick pins pricking my soul.
So, she revokes my man card
due to my insufficient funds of testosterone.
So, is it absentee manhood that holds my eyelids up?
Can you be a man if you have no penis place?
How do you teach little Black babies
when you don’t pollinate the curriculum?
It’s handed down to you from pallid men
who received their dicks from the Constitution.
So, they have always been the cultural fornicators,
and a three-fifth citizen who wishes to flower
must unscrew his myth and become
a bitch’s concubine, gelded and impotent,
unable to plant the seeds of life in his community.
What keeps you up nights???????????????????????????
Hold on to Your Insanity
The well-dressed carnival clowns
have waged war on the insane.
It’s open season on the mentally disturbed,
as if it’s our fault that our brains are too big for our bodies,
or is it that our creativity overcrowds the closets
of our minds, or is it that our imagination
is a river that floods their dry reality?
Don’t let ‘em take your insanity away from you.
Being sick is simply a liberation from
the castrated normality that surely leads
to a mid-life dive into the pool’s deep end.
It’s the peculiar people; we are the children of the Sun.
And we didn’t even ask to be planted in this scorched soil.
Tomorrow equates to a bucket of waste to us.
Hell, all of my todays and yesterdays look like twins.
So, erase from your mind the mathematicians
who looked in the back of the book for the answer;
it still doesn’t mean that they can solve for X and Y,
which are slipping on the slop of sliding sanity like
a church girl who doesn’t know how she got dirty panties.
Fantasy is the acting agent of reality…
[i] hear you George.
They, the normal mockingbirds trying to assimilate me.
Nietzsche!?! Are the waters muddy enough for you?
Yet, yo’ ass went crazy, didn’t you.
Swimming in shallow waters will do that to you.
You stayed up there too long, man!
You stayed away too long, man!
Why would you want them malignant mockingbirds
to understand you anyway?
What made you think that people with concrete vision
could understand a man with water-flowing dreams?
Don’t worry because Heidegger and Derrida
molded and mainstreamed yo’ jazz
like Texas Instruments modified the scientific calculator
for any fool looking for the square root of zero.
My mind is mine no matter how muddy it is.
[i] didn’t fill out no application to be here.
They, the contracted scholars,
trying to put my round peg into their square ideology.
They tell me to, “Cut my hair!”
[i] tell them to, “Grow some integrity!”
Damn you and the Theory of Consolidation, Downsizing,
and Mainstreaming 404 course you took
to improve your Dow Jones value with the world.
You and your Borg mentality,
if resistance is futile, then [i]’ll drink a cup of death.
“Jesus, save me with your red wine!”
My God, why have thou left me on this rugged cross?
Janie, baby, [i] need you;
they want my inside Janie.
[i] need your pear tree.
Can you save one more Teacake?
The insane are scared. The sane are paranoid,
locked in this windowless room together.
None of us want to sleep.
My soul weighs like a falling anvil.
It’s dark; [i] can hear the sistas on the mother board.
“[i]~~~~[i] love the Lord; He heard my cry.”
Why am [i] holdin’ on…
why am [i] holdin’…
why am [i]…
[i] need sleep with my dreams…
Chalky crack residue and sullied,
damp condoms lead a trail between
toothpick thin, withered, decaying prostitutes and
rusted iron male statues,
as houses suffering from malnutrition
become eroding and leaning frames decorated
with cluttered, smashed old cans lay out
a path right up to the edges of the gritty, grainy soil.
The grayed film of hopelessness
dulls the Sun from the second-hand city.
An old man-a caramel skeleton in overalls-walks this path,
his arms nothing but rubbery veins, used muscles, and screwdriver bones;
a thin body but sturdy from the steel of his fortitude
carries an earth-colored hoe that has seen as many plantings as Moses.
The yearly revolution of spring puts him into motion.
First, the cutting of crabby grass and wayward weeds,
the removing of the remains of discarded lives:
a left shoe, three-fourths of a pair of pants,
worn car tires, something indefinable, a
rag that has been squeezed of his redness, and part of a hat-
what one finds in an abandoned ghetto time-capsule.
Layer by layer, he makes his earthly womb ready for fertilizing,
laying survival seeds of corn, greens, and beans
to sprout like a phoenix from the iron grave.
It’s summer when a ghetto garden
emanates a magical miasma.
No one dares discard anything in that green bed of reincarnation.
Pimps and gangsters tie their tongues in its presence,
and prostitutes walk a little more erect in passing.
This farmer receives more alter calls and hallelujahs
than the preachers or the police.
His gardens preach daily sermons
of Nature’s will to crack the concrete cage
and be as bright as a July sun.
Crops pushing up the soil, finding the groove of sweet survival
even in the gutbucket blues of blacktop decay.
The tall corn raises its regal head
and sways with a swagger.
The greens, so full and round,
wiggle in the wind like a peacock.
And the green and orange tomatoes look like
an ever happening egotistical sunset.
The garden is a universe of exploding colors;
the gardener the master keeper of this rainbow of possibilities,
ordering his world at will, this street corner Picasso,
painting gold meaning and diamond value to our ghetto existence.
In the middle of asphalt death,
the gardener finds the beat of Nature’s heart
in a river of artichokes.
Looking upon this scene,
the concrete citizens escape into Nature’s bosom,
realizing, if just for a moment, what it means to be ripe.