Three Poems by b.g. thomas

big black wall

a black woman must not ever assume that a smile means anything other than/      she is being
sized up by the other/         to see where she stands/        how strong she might be/       what her heart
might be made of/             that’s only if the other is accepting that black people are indeed made of
flesh and blood  and feeling/                        a black woman must never assume that she
belongs  to anyplace other than a welfare line or/            housing project or/      hotel lobby wearing a
maids uniform or/        flipping burgers at mickey d’s and/            coming home to dem kids
a black woman must remember she is not privy to anything other than the role she is
assigned/   she must watch her tongue/       must not speak out/    must not stand her ground as
this is a crime it is proof of their violent nature or/         overdeveloped male side/       don’t cry/
depression is not possible/     nor is fear/       accept doing what’s be the demand/
don’t be angry/

you have no right to be anything other than a/                       stone wall/       opaque

don’t be anything other than black

 

if i would

come as at odds with myself/ and

not at odds with self

come pulling self from birth/

matter

removing/  extracting/  detaching

shedding soft scraps/  tissue/  blood /bits

of fibrous flesh from skin/

peeling back to find myself/  i come

bruising the surface/       desiring

to exist as both muse and mystic creation

goddess material/            a thing of

quick wit and wisdom

a thing of reverence / i come

desiring to be/               needing to be/ both

the staff of significance garnering song/ story

made mention not maid mention  nor

head-rag draped /            carrying nations on hips/

mammary glanded/     skin vilified /       stultified/

stuplified

i come knowing myself to be of

star dust/         goddess dust/

mythical dust of mysterious origin

of more than this history assigned to me

and my kind/ of this i

come knowing/ needing

come as this

that i might have room or time given to

complaint of being pedestaled and objectified

 

mid migration

brunt orange wings beat the wind

in pairs by the thousands

swooping down to dine on the remains

of a dead raccoon

rising up again to greet the ending summer sun

pelting the window leaving strange marks

and i wonder what mark was left by philando

in the space of that moment between

or terence or michael or keith

thirty four percent

two hundred and fifty eight

in one year but there is no problem here

the monarchs are smaller than they used to be

pesticide in water

one state burns another suffocates another drowns

terence and alton and sandra

symone and gynnya and darnesha and Yvette

on the ground      orange winged danaus plexippus

hoovering over in mid migration

 

 

***

b.g. thomas currently resides in Macy, Nebraska, with extended family including three barking members and four bossy, moody, occasionally evil bosses who punish the peasants by depositing things in the laundry. thomas’ work has appeared in GNU, The Warren, Dryland, and several anthologies.

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