from Song of The Wreckage
I have no time for Red to be beautiful
with summer bloodied as it is & normal
as it’s become, with the rusted, small bones
of boys who should be my father’s age
buried under the beaming bones of boys
who should be my age, still tinged with meat.
have no peace left, it’s been replaced by smoke
& I am sick of always running from the fire
this time. I am sick with impossible hues of black
boys, their dark ghost, crow winged angels raised
lynch high off the ground. I mourn all the time
right out the sky. I got no need for the sun
& the moon might as well be a warning shot.
How many black boys stolen in the hot night?
From their own homes? From their own bodies?
How many black boys until we make history
finally let us in on the joke? How little progress
before it’s not progress.? How much prayer & song
must we stuff our mouths with before we lose
our taste for empty? I got faith like a man down
in the dirt who don’t believe in no kind of God
how he gonna watch the earth turn his legs to rot
how he got eternity to feel dirty & left behind
& wonder if there might be a land of light.
You know how when Usain Bolt runs
& you want to cry it’s so beautiful? That.
How could we not be a song? I sing
this man in my bed all night, my mouth a loose choir
& his body a gospel & I don’t mean like a song
I mean gospel like a religion or like a testimony
etched in gold. How could we be only a song?
I lay men down for what some call me a faggot for
but I call it worship, I see his wood & bark
Amen Amen Amen. I call out God’s good name
in the midst of the first miracle – the black body.
Look at him, at us. Were the mountains not named
after some dark brotha’s shoulders? Didn’t the wind learn
its ways from watching two boys run the spine of a field?
Bless the birch-colored body, always threatening to grow
or burn. Bless the body that strikes fear in pale police
& wets the mouths of church girls & choir boys with want.
Am I allowed to say I praised my pastor most without the robe?
I have found God in the saltiest parts of men: the space between
the leg & what biology calls a man, the bottoms of feet, life’s slow milk.
I watch the Heat play the Warriors & I am overcome by a need
for tears & teeth. I stopped playing football because being tackled
feels too much like making love. I pause in the middle of the street
watching the steady pace of the men on corners selling green
& all things dangerous & white. I watch the hands exchange money
& escape, the balancing act of hips & denim. This awful dance of poverty,
but the dancers? Tatted & callous ballerinas, henna dipped stars.
Do you know what it means to be that beautiful & still hunted
& still alive? Who knows this story but the elephants & the trees?
Who says the grace of a black man in motion is not perfect
as a tusk in the sun or a single leaf taking its sweet time to the ground?
& on the eighth day, god said let there be fierce & that’s the story about the first snap, the hand’s humble attempt at thunder, a small sky troubled by attitude // & on the ninth day, God said Bitch, werk & Adam learned to duck walk, dip, pose, death drop, Eve became the fruit herself, stared lion’s in the eye & dared to bite // & on the tenth day, God wore a blood red sequin body suit, dropped it low, named it Sunset // & on the eleventh day God said guuuurrrrrl & trees leaned in for gossip, water went wild for the tea, & the airtight with shade // & on the twelfth day, Jesus wept at the mirror, mourning the day his sons would shame his sons for walking a daughter’s stride, for the way his children would learn to hate the kids // & on the thirteenth day, God barely moved, he laid around dreaming of glitter; pleased with the shine, sad so many of his children would come home covered in it, parades canceled due to rain of fist & insults & rope & bullets // & on the fourteenth day God just didn’t know what to do with himself