Saturday, April 09, 2011

April 7, Poem 7 - circumference


(after Yusef Komunyakaa)

I spent entire evenings playing the same

record over and over in the Winter

of 1977. Good Times, by Chic Risque

I was alone and learning

that every part of my body

enlisted to making a god of me;

protection and punishment all at once.

I was born to holler into the sun

a warbled note leaving my throat

to messenger myself free. I’ve

been calculating the reverberations

of sound waves ever since, searching

the cosmos for signs of my thick-gutted

torso in flight. I love my arms

how they ripple like sails, forever

divining the purpose of my mission,

listening with the fingers for the song

that travels back. I fear the song

and what it might tell me of my thirst

for women, the place where synapses

refuse to continue firing across vast

gulfs in my brain, the secret tribulation

of my first two years. I was born

to become a teacher, the always

destination of slaves. Handed down

to me by grandmother and mother,

entire black planets are in my care.

I love my hips like a horse’s flanks,

how they crave to dance, handed down

to me by my grandmother and mother

Entire black planets are in their care.

In 1977 I teamed up with a Lakota

girl to subdue the playground; to win

the hill at its center. I did not know

then I was born to resist, but I pushed

my chest out. Even then I knew

I was a house. Even then I knew

I was born to wear out an army.

To schedule a reading or an appearance please contact Ofer Ziv at Blue Flower Arts at 845-677-8559 or email


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