Saturday, April 03, 2010

day 3, poem 3 - up jump the boogie (for john murillo)

guys! i mentioned ghazal in class recently. this would be an example!

Up Jump the Boogie
for John Murillo’s book party

We piled into the upper room, sniffing for our kind
fiending one another, all different shades of black

reincarnated of another renaissance, we dressed
all smooth, so sharp we seemed blades of black

all tropes present, the diva queen, the lover king
the matron thick, the scandalous - all swaying to black

There was fried chicken, blues and copious bass
We hold tight to our history. Forgive us if we’re slaves to black

John, tall and stately, a funk renegade, a fist unfurled,
from head to toe, in grown man garb, my niggah swathed in black

poems mystical as a fist fight, thick as a pistol
the women sing his name in verse. Their hips swayed to black

Rum for Chango, spirits poured for all our dead
our gathering blessed, the ancestors keep us bathed in black

and I, Roger, honored to be among the called, the numbered
sing my song. I’m of a protected clan. We chant survive. We don’t just fade to black.

Friday, April 02, 2010

day 2, poem 2 - entreaty


Father, I’ve been building
a body worthy of my own
lies, moving it from corner
to open field, from the insides
of dark cars, to the last
bleak bedroom I’ve inhabited.
I’m building it out of the lies I told
myself. I’n building it of the lies
I grew to believe of you – the thighs
of yours I’ve inherited from the foyer
of your bright, bright heart.

I’ve never wanted anything
so much as speed, so much
as the power of limb and fist
and heart; the stadium’s everlasting torrent.
I’ve never wanted anything
so much as to live
under your roof, to be a child
again, and so I revolted all the way
until my 40th birthday.

Father, when I was 18, I held a woman
down, in the front seat of my mother’s
Datsun, and when she finally relented,
I told myself it was because I wanted
her to stay. I pushed myself
into her and called myself a man
for certain. I did not think it rape
until almost 20 years later,
and while I am not alone
in this specific way of men
I wonder how the lie of your
returning again and again – how
the lie of my forever staying,
my body blooming chest and wrinkle
into your spitting image would have molded
me more a man, more capable
of the love I swear I feel
in my stomach but can never seem
to deliver to the women I call

Father, I am trying to rehabilitate
myself in women not yet undone
by me. They let me call them love.
They let me hold them hostage.
They let me live in so many years
whose memories hold you clear –
1974, 1981, 1987, 1994, 06, 07, 08, 09
and I am building out of those lies
a tenement with a thousand rooms.

Here’s a confession: I am not yet really a man.
Here’s a fear: I do not have what it takes
for anything other than a pursuit
which ends in speed, in a crash.
Here’s what I lay at the doorstep
of the morality you taught – you
were always taking your bows
and stepping back. And so
I craved your spotlight. I have
It now. You’ve bequeathed
me the most unfortunate grace,
a body built of granite, a tenement
of a heart, a craving
for nothing but the everlast ovation
that walking away from the stage
can give.