No Odes Spoken (For Lorenzo)
He will not paint his mother’s
Pain in tragic shades of black
And blue. He’ll only say
With furrowed brow
That she deserved
Sex, your body or
The texture of your tattooed
Arms. Better than cologned lies
And eager erections those nights you
Promised to do her, no harm. Better
Than the tears, the hurting. Better than
The sharp alarm of speeding police sirens.
He will not
Speak of her
Pain, nor of how
The abandoned jazz
In her walk became
A sadder pace, or how
Her proud spine collapsed
Against the tension of you. You
Who call yourself a man, and then
Beat on women, beat on women, beat on
Them like drums. He tries to never imagine
The beatings or
The surrender of his
Mother’s arms, her limbs
Pinned like butterfly wings
Beneath the weight of you. He
Tries to reject the picture of them
Roped around your merciless back in
P a i n, thru sweat & sinew tight
As braids only African women weave.
Herself, a mistress of
Trickery, placed no faith
In you, nor in the words that
That sprung from your wooden lips like
Ventriloquist’s dummies do. You threw
Your voice like madmen throw curses, as
Angry men throw fists, as hurricanes throw
Fury, as stormy nights throw jagged lightning…
And miracle of
You produced a fine human
Being… Warped, but fine, Bent, but
Fine, Poor, but fine, Bitter, but fine.
Of flesh your
Battles with decadence,
Your cutting words performed
No permanent circumcision. He
Remains in tact, stands tall in
His manhood, though you always sucked
At delivering its lessons. Didn’t you?
Old man! Take this
Poor-ass poem! I hope it burns
Fire in your hand. Choke on its
Words! Vomit on its bile, and chew on
Its hard bitter dick of sentiment a while!
Call it an ode
To you. You are not
Forgiven. You are not
Forgiven! This voice you
Left is wild with song and
Thick with fury. You put it there!
You! It was
You-- you fool, who
Left this bird with one
Cruel beak of song. You who
Left him strong with disillusion.
You who made him this singer of far
Too many broken tunes.
Used here with the permission of the poet.
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