What’s the difference between hate and love
When they are two sides of the same blade.
Sharpened brandished waving wildly in ghost columns
against the disfigured, burning-white face of abrasion.
march home with square, taut shoulders – slightly bony –
Body swelled and puffed with
the blood-red energy of something desperate to naked pairs
ramming themselves against each other in an effort to
These colorless concepts, abstract words
that hang in the air the same as
smoke-rings – ghost columns.
Could it give You a religion;
a belief that there is some guiding force in the universe
binding the two of you together by
touch, smell, scratching, grinding --
And he and You quelled
each other’s pleading prayers within
the folds of each muscles
the steeple of each elbow,
the hollow of each throat.
Some spiritualists call this the Kundalini – feel this world through a material base
A Love religion – fixing body and body together
because it’s the one thing that seems to make sense in this crude moment
when the ashes settled to fossilize inside
His and Yours brains.
“My God. His chest, his belly,
the riding and the falling, the moans.
How he clung to me, how he struggled --
Life and death! Life and death!”
The circle of arms is the gateway
to some emotional dry-heave:
the swelling, purging, and crashing
of grief, rage, love, and comfort
those same abstract, colorless concepts
teetering on the edge of a beaten-down slave gospel.
We can give our vegetables a gender:
Female onions. Peel only when ripe then
ferment in a closed plastic bottle.
Color sensations that can only pass between illuminated palms on an
Shakespeare’s Gloucester could only see this world feelingly, woman:
How will you cope after being blinded by his tears?
And when the ream is spent, write a poem on the back.
After your limbs searched for each other after years gone, searched underneath the covers for a comforting hand that could save the loneliness from shaking your souls out of your bodies?
When limbs stretched forward to hold both bodies together,
the backbones that ****** you both pressed against the skin --
The very skin that ****** you, too.
That dream baby bearing the handprint of his ghost --
his skin on your skin on baby skin
Against undifferentiated dark, it may glow beneath the cradle’s mobile.
“Another illegitimate black baby.” Let’s call it Smoke and Mirrors for maybe just a second.
Don’t pay attention to the swerve of small-town eyes.
Then, we can see the light through the parenthesis.
Call it the ghost of his Love. The ghost of meat love. Delirious brilliance.
Ghost of mouth-on-the-screen-door Love.
The same taste of nickels, of iron, of blood --
Leave the porchlight on if you want him to find his way back.
Hang the water-filled jar from the tree to ward away the evil ghosts.
Light it, love it, leave it. Light it, love it, leave it.
Who’s going to guide the insect-feelers
to the light
on the nights
When words split, scatter, and sift
into labor-streaked pyramids between these fingers?
Now do you know where you are? We see a little farther now, a little farther still.
Staked in fury, can we recognize red ants on a red ant hill, now?
Shrouded in a glory-cloud, at least you knew you fit somewhere.
As Women, We know the gospel well. A little farther now and a little farther still.
The maddening dances around *** and Song – it is possible for the rest of Us to understand
and know how You’ve been bleeding.
*The quotations applied in the poem are drawn from James Baldwin's play Blues for Mister Charlie in order to expound on the ambiguously defined struggle that Juanita, one of the Black students, encounters after Richard Henry leaves the bedroom in Act 2 and during the courtroom proceedings in Act 3. Faced with Richard Henry's impending doom, she mulls over how the lives of all the characters begin to intertwine and, ultimately, demonstrate the lyrical quality of grief individuals voiced during during and after the ****** of Emmett Till -- each with its own score, tone, and measure.
Blues for Mister Charlie is James Baldwin’s second play, a tragedy in three acts. It was first produced and published in 1964. It is dedicated to the memory of Medgar Evers, and his widow and his children, and to the memory of the dead children of Birmingham.“ The play is loosely based on the Emmett Till ****** that occurred in Money, Mississippi, before the Civil Rights Movement began.
While they’re out and dancing, Richard confides in Juanita about his time up North and how he became a ****** after encountering the jazz scene. Juanita and Richard share an intimate moment full of innocent nostalgia for their romantic history and cathartic awakening to the tumultuous circumstances for Black individuals in society.
After Richard is killed, Juanita testifies to Richard’s character in court. However, since Juanita has been to jail (for non-violent protest) and has had *** before marriage (with someone she loves), the racist white townspeople defending Lyle suggest her testimony is of no importance.