Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Middle Passage, after Countee Cullen's "Middle Passage"

It said “Go back to Africa” in red ink

On the way to her shores my feet tangle

And that night I did.

in scum-covered shackles on the ocean floor. 

I did after throwing the red brick back out through the shards

In languages I have never heard

And wiped my daddy’s bloody head

pale ghosts in the air howl on hovering phantom rigs,
obscuring my Polaris.

And put out the flames on our lawn

Coiling rope, alive and writhing fades at her brink. 

And stopped baby brother from crying

Foam in the surf wraps around my ankles.

And told Big Ma to stop screaming

The multitude of tribes before me stand.
In their faces nothing my own and
everything my own.
In my face, all of Africa.

and pulled the rough twinning from the tree…

In French and English, German,
they each take their turn,
and tell me to go home.

I did.

*This is my poetry. Please do not copy the text, reuse it or plagiarize. Thanks!
*Artwork by Tom Feelings (May 19, 1933 - August 25, 2003)

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