Thursday, January 06, 2011

"Boy in Blue," by Kwame Dawes

A beautiful and terrifying portrait, this.

His voice is licked
but his dreams
are the artillery of words loaded
to uncoil our strength.
  --Michel-Ange Hyppolite

The words cluster behind your teeth;
close in, the smooth patina, deep brown,
of your face is alight with the effort:
you, boy, carrying the weight
of an old man; this body of yours
broken again and again by the accident
of your birth. I follow the slow
wave of your thick lashes, you are
counting the words, searching
your heart for the right music--
"Sometimes, I wonder why;
sometimes I wonder if
my mother did this--then I grow
dark, the world swallows light
around me, then I cry--only
sometimes, I cry, and then I laugh,
just like that, in a few seconds,
I laugh and I cry and I dream again.
A drum and incendiary tongues
darting through the low rafters
would be easier--a prophet speaking,
telling us the why of the moving earth,
the rubble of our city; even the priest
with his soft horse eyes, his mouth
moving quickly over my skin, even
that would be easier than this
silence; the dark streets of the city,
the heat in my skin, my mother
praying in the shadows, singing
from deeper than I will ever go;
and when I sing, I know how
to fly, and how to reach where
the water eases the spinning
in my stomach, and this blood
is not my enemy when I sing."
We leave you in the growing dusk,
the scent of rain is heavy in the air--
somewhere beside the broken palace,
the sky opens up, and the streets
flood--the sound of cataclysms,
so normal now--I imagine you,
like these children, dancing
in the deluge, naked as holiness.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:05 AM

    This poem made me tear up..these words just cut thro me.."you, boy, carrying the weight
    of an old man;" thank u for sharing..alex


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