Morning Song

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival.  New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety.  We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses.  I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s.  The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars.  And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

–By Sylvia Plath

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Monet’s Waterlilies

Today as the news from Selma and Saigon
poisons the air like fallout,
I come again to see
the serene, great picture that I love.

Here space and time exist in light
the eye like the eye of faith believes.
The seen, the known
dissolve in iridescence, become
illusive flesh of light
that was not, was, forever is.

O light beheld as through refracting tears.
Here is the aura of that world
each of us has lost.
Here is the shadow of its joy

–by Robert Hayden

Homey Don’t Play

when I was a kid they still burned crosses on Stone Mountain you know

I am old

obsidian war-like headstones jutting out from the ground

old

stumped, roving, mad

mobocracy

there’s too many mysteries for answers

known unknowns that fill the cracks of conscious when we probably should be paying attention

but I’m over it

that shit will swirl in an endless cycle

pale faces speak,  brown preach, women woman all over the place

just provide me with pretty and silly thangs

I’ll cradle the corner and entertain the children

as the world burns

On Returning Home To Nana’s

a small hair sprouts

defying the odds

bursting through the surface

only to crinkle and bend

like palm trees in the wind

coconut oil eases the shaft

from root to ends

smooth, dipping my curls

into the Atlantic

becoming one with the island

and the wave

and the nappiness

of my kitchen

the way she might have as a child on family vacations

her thick black locs hang

like freedom

and nooses

and mangoes

strong and sweet as sugarcane

standing up

resisting gravity

and the box that bottles beauty

Taurus

the breathe

is fire in the belly

the soul

nurture 

fill your lungs with the flame of desire

hurl hesitation on the pyre

and jump into the arms of lovers

holdfast to dreams 

discover

an inner torch 

can burn

and breath

finer

The Day Misery Knocks

Don’t fret the day misery

knocked at your door

you knew he’d come

take off his shoes

break all your rules

put a squeeze on your toothpaste tube

dirty up the tub

use all the ice cubes

He hadn’t lain in your lap

to tell you he’d stay

If he reaches the door, leaving

he comes right back immediately, saying

i left my keys

can you wash these

more time please

to gather his things

But remember this

you are king of all you survey

if misery has overstayed a welcome

show him the way

because only you have the key

Let’s Be Weak

telling someone to be strong

is like telling a building to be still in a hurricanee105

only the trunk

that bends to the wind

can weather the storm

 

don’t be afraid to watch someone crumble

 

don’t be afraid to be on the bottom

build yourself back up with tears of grieving

or dancing for bricks

 

learn to bend like bamboo

and backsides

swivel the weight around your hips

like a hula hoop

if the world is too much for your shoulders