this is where we’re at
reality shows on cults
flipping through cookbooks
A nurse told me today
that new born white males
are the most fragile babies,
maybe on the planet,
and that black babies are the strongest.
“hmmm…” I thought, perhaps only a myth
on the heels of the Black Panther.
Super hero babies born with that distant connection
to the sacred world.
You know about Samoans, right?
We oozed up from mud,
headless worms from the decay of vines
until we breathed in deep
and were given limbs and a mind.
No silver spoon.
No dainty carved cradle.
We were born with paddles in our hands
to cross the amniotic fluid of our dream land.
Darwin calls it the “preservation of favored races
in the struggle for life.”
Turns out history is on the side of POC,
If she knows what sheʻs talking about,
you got bit
and i went
my song rang out to all and even
the dark and sullen creatures;
bowed and said
okay, come and
get your love
and said shh
me up and
up and up and up
and out and out and out
and i could not hear you say
yes and yes and yes but i must trust
you are behind me while you must trust
i know the way.
On the precipice of the bathroom sink
the battery sits on its charger
For the first time all day
and am amazed my batteries
kept me going.
Does a battery know the work it does
or the meaning?
Each focus, each snap—
a little is drained.
I decide not to withdraw from play
to change out the camera’s battery.
The fire crackles as children slumber.
A battery knows
no such rest.
the windows are down
and so is the sun.
the two lane curves
i cling to
wreak of honeysuckle
and a fresh squished skunk.
the radio reminds me
i’m getting to be an oldie
and there ain’t a soul stirring,
Saturday night or no.
there ain’t a set of headlights
but the lightning bugs
blink out a clear path
to remind me i’m not alone
all the way home.
LETTERS TO THE DEAD: TWO
Hey Mike: This is going to be a fast one because it’s the end of the day and I’m exhausted from cleaning up all the downed trees and branches from Thursday’s storm. It reminds of April 1974 when you were in the Bardstown jail and I drove there with Ellie to find out what was going on. Tornados were all around. We saw one going east along the Bluegrass Parkway as we headed west. People were getting out of their cars and laying down in a ditch.
When we got to the Jail, the emergency alert siren went off and everyone was told to go into the basement where the cells served as shelter for extreme events like tornadoes ond nuclear attacks. And there you were, the next cell over locked up with all the other prisoners. Half your head and beard was shaved clean and the other half was as hairy and wild as the rain-forest. You looked at me as though it was the most natural thing in the world to see me in jail with you and said, “I did it. I called forth the storms and they came and wrecked vengance upon the land.” I knew you were out of your mind and somehow I had to get you out of that place…and soon.
More tomorrow when I have the time to reminisce.
Also I will try to explain to you in some detail why I’m writing these letters.
Please be patient, my brother.
There are things you can’t unhear.
For me, it’s the time someone tried to tell me
that they loved me.
He told me with a quivering voice
And it took everything I had
not to laugh. For we were so young-
not even 16.
And when I didn’t say it back,
he started to cry
and told me that it wasn’t fair
for him to say that. And for me to be
So I swallowed my pride
and choked out the words
With all the sincerity of a Chinatown diamond.