Poem 9 of 30 - April 30 - Muse
I need everything you give me; the pictures of you – still looking out your back window, the reminders of past metaphor, the sing-back of songs I’ve sung. These days I’m working harder than ever on something I can call a real thing I believe in. I’m working on the sun on the concrete in fron my house and the dust in the bars that cover my window sill when the breeze comes through soft in the afternoon, and a lover’s tawny body in my bed stretched out across me while I come in and out of my dozing. I need all this – and the mirror of my back and the slow weeping of dinner with friends who love me and the richness of the por and eggs and chicken andnoodles and herbs from my friend’s mother’s yard – how they made me feel strong today.
My homie tells of his uncle – how he ordered another man’s death and wept quietly in the middle of his field when his son brought him news of the job’s completion. The poem has always been a field; since Frost, since forever and all our fathers and uncles these prosodic, precise lines meant to grow things out of their fallow.
Muse – what is the news that interrupts? What is the death that intervenes in the poem? What is the nature of joy and surprise if not to have the plough surprised in its neat and reverent lines? In my bedroom is a steady accumulation of things for my child who is now almost here among us in this world – a car seat, diapers, a rocker, Dr. Seuss books. There are bright golden condom wrappers in my room too; and as real to me as the arms I’m growing that are for nothing more than to hold this girl now.
Last week, I bought some shoes. I am handsome and sleek in them. They are black and glossy and comfortable. I want to walk them into a field where my father is ploughing and tell him how I once dragged a boy down the stairs, how I tried to drag a man out of a moving car, how I threw my arms opened like I was receiving an ovation, as I leaned backward out of a speeding car and tried to make mush of another man’s face. I want him to know his absence ordered their deaths. I do not know if this is true. My blackness co-conspires in everything. I am his fourth child of six we know of. I am the news that interrupts, the ghost who carries his shoulders into war. I am walking into the field to tell my father that I love him, no matter how many carcasses he bids me fetch. These are the lines I’m trying to plough straight now, looking over my shoulder for the girl to come. She is beautiful in her brand new shoes. Her shoulders are powerful. She has done as ordered. Her hands are brimmed in blood.
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