Three Poems From Up South


Uncle Washes His Nieces Feet (After A Busted Wedding).

Now is past god and his altar light Kente’ss,
past surfaces of shells-of brooms and their frames,
past bonds—legal and in tradition—decayed.
                   	Sister, let me soak your bunions.
Now is past ministers (but not ministers of spices),
past the roots and the fruits of exodus screwed
          then processed in generations of rituals 
Now is not for procession but peelers and tub salts. 
                   	Little sister, come and sit with me.
Now, past the moment of the boy man's rut
and men who speak of youth and nothing but
while oats seed a poison to their face,
he sits with his bucket and new Epsom bag
                   	and clears if not clarifies myth.
At the wedding now, only sulfur is truth.
Commitment is a yoke that bears two weights
so in the middle of the mosque she eats pork.
Spikes hit in the heel—then the head—
                               then the heart
and the red bucket is a hiding place.
                     Little sister, let me soak them bunions.
Love is a sign here that has no face
and a hotplate is her only commitment.
  	 Little sister, the heart is a moving tent.
                     Little sister let me soak them bunions.

When The OG Took The Fall For Once (Then Realized It Was His Last). 

The confession (what?) was quick.
The line was black and razored.
The D-boy in the round up looked
for penance but the boys were still.
In the not-jack out of all his jacks
he was dragged against his will 
In the autumn of his (thirty) third strike
his cheeks were on the window sill. 
       Homeboy? Homeboy? Where are you going?

Thirty three homies deny his name.
Thirty three runner dads’ 
Lock out their cutlasses’
as old players crow, pop and pour. 
The line cannot give alms
in block commerce and shadows
that de-iniatiate him
from their window to their door.
 	Homeboy? Homeboy? Where are you going?

And as glass shuts the rain and sky
his cherubim cheeks betray him.
Forgiveness and it’s compound’s homes
lay transparent as shadows and flight.
Corner stores are razed and destroyed
in an auto abstention of light.
The steeple leaves, and then the cross flies. 
And the procession—at noon—is night. 
         Homeboy, Where did you go?

If That Deacon Talks Shit About Your Tats Again, I’ll Cut Him 
And Write My Prison Memoirs. 

Your column's and crosses—
your errant birds—
your neon patches and hidden words:
I know no gods but them now.
I will tend the helm of their invisible garments
In our smoked out heretic groves.

The sun and moon will have their contradiction of followers.
The match men that strained and strained to sketch you 
will costume image for facts.
Life—in deeds—and words—and acts
is the syllogism of the sun of the sun on chest, 
the pinpoint and crescent beyond comings of judgment
to which I will show all my rainbow signs, 
a rhapsody light house from old structured rules
and bow ties who scoured our streets. 

Love, dear love, I will never re-write you—
never capture you in scenes, moments, or landscapes—
never do anything but seek what you put first
In morning nocturne hours—
never put codes on the markers and places 
you show me— 
still, unfiltered, beautiful and transitory--
elusive in your higher hidden laws
of green belly buttons and chains.
Elusive are your embers, love.
They are my only northern stars.

About Robert Lashley.

Like his hero James Baldwin, Robert Lashley wants to be an Honest man and a good writer. His full length book, "The Homeboy Songs", will be published by Small Doggies Press in April. View all posts by Robert Lashley.

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