By Rudolph Lewis
as a flower is.
am “soft too as an open petal
receiving the mist
of a midnight raindrop.”
am African (Kenyan)
am the Big Apple
am the City of Broad Shoulders
the city ends”
Emmett Till, under a glass-top casket
Joshua, finisher of the great work,
of rivers, of the four winds
son of the South, of the soil
sweet water after the rain
sins of small baffled souls,
of Hitler and socialism
am the hate that hate forgot
like the Big Easy after Katrina
guilt of adolescence,
country after its birth
heart breaking stickiness
Confederate flags and gun racks in trucks
mysteriousness that cannot be cleaned.
color of Southern Comfort
all around from Iceland
car losing control, a falling elevator
hanging from a limb, doused with gasoline
centerpiece of an exclusive picnic
bird fleeing to nowhere
world turned upside down, coughing
rattling inside like a snake.
Melville’s white whale
mistaken “for an island with dark beaches”
down ships, like the Devil himself
tricking at the sea’s edge like Marie LaVeau
fools who rush to be eaten at hell’s gate
am Ahab clinging to ropes, going down
am an old metaphor drawn
from over familiarity and ignorance
yet I be about beauty
am thrown bread on sullen days.
am the crust & crumb
around which crows gather in winter.
am spring in all its greening
the hope that hope hoped for
am the bright morning star that fades
in the eternal rising of the sun.
am Shakespeare, the Muslim of Europe,
the darker brother of ancient poets.
am he who drinks wine with lifelong
companions under winking stars
am the executioner's song crumbled
to the ground, timeless in my Beloved’s
whose desires are mine
melting the universe.