R'member wakin' up thet mornin' t'Nicky hollerin' O shit, sum thievin' fuck gone stole our bike tires clean off & we had no grub lef' neither 'less y'count cans which y'all know don' count fer shit even if y'do got an opener & course we don't. S'we get draggin' our sorry asses t'some gud fer nuthin' shack thet only got black bananas & a pile'a foreign junk so beat up by th' sun like it bin sittin' there longer then th' man at th' counter wit' a face already dead. Nuthin' to shotgun neither but sum Fanta wit' a weird-ass logo & it don' matter if y'all on American concrete or island dirt, Fanta be poor people shit. A truck all loud wit' smoke & metal drove pas' & all them kids in th' trailer start yellin' Palagi Palagi at our white skins jumpin' up & down & pointin' like they seena buncha ghosts. Th' smalless fella, well he had eyes cut right from th' sea like blue glass in that li'l dark face'a his, sumthin' I ain't never seen before, like maybe he sum kinda angel & I watched him good an' long as they disappeared into th' green. Wit' a shit tun'a nuthin' we bolted back barefoot seein' who cud skid th' furthess in th' dirt road & th' loser gotta feed th' ress sumhow. Course DJ lost like he no-shit always do & after callin' him dick juice fer a while he scales up a goddam coconut tree & starts chuckin' 'em down like big hairy heads splittin' right open when they hit th' ground. Milk spilt e'rywhere we picked up th' sandy chunks & took 'em home, carved out th' flesh wit' butter knives & hurled them husks at dragonflies big as our hands. We lay down in th' yard wit' thet big sun gettin' real sof' like, drinkin' leftover beers & all the while Black Bess cumin' up nex' t'me breathin' all loud & wet & thumpin' her warm hide down on th' grass. We stayed out 'til night laid down a sky so low & thick wit' stars we cud feel 'em graze our sunburnt faces. All fell hard asleep right there on th' lawn layin' on towels stiff wit' salt not thinkin' once how bein' young was easy as a sunrise, like sumthin' y'always knew wud be there when y'woke up.
MY KIND OF ROMANTIC
Be my Citrus Girl.
Scream like a stolen peach
while I'm running like a school boy
about to break my teeth on every promise
I ever made.
Remind me that I should know better.
Plant second guesses with every breath
that bloom into the same velvet answer
until I'm choking on your truth.
Use my weakness as your witness,
my mistakes for an alibi.
Get me by the neck, gracefully.
Be a matchbox machine in my bed of gasoline,
I want to burn the house down with you.
Can I carve diamonds from your white picket fence
and hang you a new mobile of happy endings?
I'm saying I can give your dreams a fresh coat of paint.
Shhh, let me lullaby you.
Strip down to your dark side.
Shock me like a sunset with a fever
in the motel room of a dead beat town with nothing to do
but stare out the window and sweat.
My veins are empty hallways when you're gone.
Move like mercury. Melt me into silver
while the stars get fat off our shine.
I need you to forget that you are beautiful
and understand you are a stained glass sky.
Calculate the difference when you confetti the rain.
That stone you carry is a lame excuse for a heart.
Let me suck off all your sweetness
and I will teach you how to bruise right:
If you're not spitting gravel
you haven't fallen hard enough.
My skinned knees are all the proof
you'll ever need.
LAMB SHANKS FOR DINNER
The kitchen is spitting hot oil
My mother lays rosemary stalks,
a crown of thorns for our tender feast.
Round brown bodies
snuggle in their shallow bed;
topping and tailing; pink skin
braising; marrow sweet as spring
inside bald bones.
But how are these shanks?
A shank suggests a lumberjack's limb,
not white fuzzy shin still
wobbling with the world;
a small clump of cloud in some grassy field,
clinging to his mother
like meat on a bone.
2ND STREET & AVENUE A
My street corner is the one with
TALL BLACK GIRLS sprayed across
lamp-post stumps. Where day stains up
the sunrise and graffiti sprawls across
the metal glint of roller doors, where 99 cent pizza
soaks up flooded bodies in fluorescent light
at 3am, where men with shuffling eyes
sell stolen skateboards and the rats
don’t give a shit. On my street corner
kids stash dreams in their back pockets
like illegal fireworks and basketball fences cling
to palms and you don’t want to walk too far east
(especially not at night). My street corner is
man she like those slushie drinks, you know,
those cherry flavour ones, is trash can spilling
styrofoam takeout containers and coffee cups,
is dandelion-street-crack-summer, is Vegans
Have Better Sex preacher, is warplane pigeon,
is Store For Rent Chase Bank Taco Stand and
‘scuse me miss do you have a spare quarter?
My street corner don’t know french, liquid soap
or apologies. My street corner will use your skin
for a blanket and floss with your veins. My street
corner got an afternoon that’ll make you wait for it,
look you straight in the eye and say
what’s up baby, then lay down
an orange sunset so deep,
you better hold your breath.
DON'T CALL ME BUTTERCUP
19 years ago there were buttercups twisting
under my chin, that yellow stain proof of God.
Eyes full of squint,
young grass reached for my fists.
Spring grew inside my mother,
a hungry wolf sniffed her out.
A name is a plucked dandelion,
we pray to wake the sleeping wind.
I wish I knew how many suns
it takes to make an apology.
All that sky and you still can't cry hard enough
to make it rain.
To hunt was never without reward:
The weight of a deer across his back,
A blue bodied pheasant revealed,
a blue solitude restored.
Not once would dawn hesitate,
Swilling tea between teeth,
Through flesh and bone.