For This Dark Skin (after mourning black sons)

I do not know what to say;

Where I do start,

There is poetry in the beginning and end of this

 

I am afraid I will forget you,

Dead in the street like dog,

Dead in street like mutt, like negro

Teach me the couplets lain between your lines and dark boy

That we can remember you

When you are the flicker in the poet’s cigarette butt

And the dregs in empty wine glasses

And dinner table chat as the people fix their white to debate your humanity

While they gorge on black pain

Devour the density in this skin

Decide on how we resist

 

I want to remember the taste of your god and click

And creases in cotton and construct

Remember what it was like before

Black was only pretty as it swelled

 

Dark skin cries oil slick

***

Black boy,

Too dark boy,

 

I know there is God in your obsidian

There can be no home for divinity but in the earth of your complexion

This skin gives life like our lives don’t get snatched from us

Teach us hide fear between our callouses, know well who’s out hunting.

 

Black Skin knows salt water well

Knows well the kiss of ocean beat against wood and tar

Knows well the cold of this water bites like bleach

Knows well rivers which try to swallow us whole and this dark skin could never swim

Knows well the tumble of mourning across

inhale

be calm

 

Child, go and find me your mother,

This boy’s gonna rot in the sun

Our boys, strange fruit, forever rot in this sun

You, white, stay lighting fires in this skin.

 

***

They twinkle, colonise our sky

Steady themselves in our dark.

Grip our wounds for balance.

they are never done talking of Man,

yet murder men everywhere they find field burnt skin

 

***

That boy has the stench of black about him like coffinkiss soil

 

These shadows are growing but the Sun will not come.

He has forgotten our name in this darkness

And cares not where we will go.

 

***

There is a baptism in this blood

Tonight, we will wash the last of their gunpoint god from our tongues.

Tonight,  take Ogun with you as you travel this darklit road,

Carry this skin close to your chest until you can find the last of yourself in the fear of man.

Remember to call from the other side,

There are many here who love you like damp fingertips on glass panes.

 

***

Dark skin

the villainy in their hackneyed constellations will find their sleep

know never to shed your twilight

know well that these stars fall in mourning of you

know well how to breathe, the air is seeking out your lungs through these gunshots

know well this pound of flesh will not be in vain

know well you will never walk this night alone, the winnowed sky will forever be your own

know well the density in this skin, it will not crack under the weight of our grief

know well that you are loved, we still wait for you to come home

 

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