Fantasy and Conversation
Rooming Houses are Old Women
If You Come Softly
Snally Gaster's African American Phat Library Experience
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is the total black, being spoken
from the earth's inside.
There are many kinds of open
how a diamond comes into a knot of flame
how sound comes into a word, coloured
by who pays for what speaking.
Some words are open like a diamond
on glass windows
singing out within the passing crash of sun
There are words like stapled wagers
in a perforated book, -buy and sign and tear apart-
and come whatever wills all chances
the stub remains
an ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
breeding like adders. Others know sun
seeking like gypsies over my tongue
to explode through my lips
like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Love is a word, another kind of open.
As the diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am Black because I come from the earth's inside
now take my word for jewel in the open light.
Speckled frogs leap from my mouth
to drown in the coffee
between our wisdoms
I could smile
and turn these frogs in to pearls
speak of love, our making
And if the spell works
shall I break down
or build what is bropken
into a new house
shook with confusion
Shall I strike
before our magic
Rooming houses are old women
rocking dark windows into their whens
waiting incomplete circles
rent office to stoop to
community bathrooms to gas rings and
under-bed boxes of once useful garbage
city issued with a twice monthly check
and the young men next door
with their loud midnight parties
and fishy rings left in the bathtub
no longer arouse them
from midnight to mealtime no stops inbetween
light breaking to pass through jumbled up windows
and who was it who married the widdow that Buzzie's son messed with?
To Welfare and insult from the slow shuffel
from dayswork to shopping bags
heavy with leftovers.
are old women waiting
through darkening windows
the end or beginning of agony
old women seen through half-ajar doors
they are not waiting
the entrance to somewhere
unknown and desired
but not new.
If you come as softly
As the wind within the trees
You may hear hwat I hear
See what sorrow sees.
If you come as lightly
As threading dew
I will take you gladly
Nor ask more of you.
You may sit beside me
Silent as a breath
Only those who stay dead
Shall remeber death.
And if you come I will be silent
Nor speak harsh words to you.
I will not ask you why now.
Or how, or what you do.
We shall sit here, softly
Beneath two different years
And the rich between us
Shall drink our tears.