Nth term


Today’s poem (and yesterday’s) is one I wrote for Ake review’s Beneath the skin issue. Sadly, neither of the poems made the cut.

What’s a man to do? Share them and keep working right? Right! So here we are. You might wanna brush up your mathematical skills a little bit to be able to tag along with this one.


Nth term.

"we forgot Sodom and Gomorrah were leveled by brimstone and divine judgement
but Missisipi is still standing" - Loyce Gayo.

a.
perhaps being born in this age makes me forget
 how much of ruin you were.
 taken from your homes along with your kindred,
 your obsidian skin sickens; you devilish beings needed saving.
 thick raven hair big ass stark naked weeping
 white man zipping up his pants kind of saving.
 saving kind enough to give life
 but not enough to save anyone
 from the drownings, the hangings,
 massa whips
 turning men into cartographies.
 
ar.
some white men's utopia was a harvest of strange fruits
 from the tree of life, monkey barbecues, monkeys
 - who for long did not have the comfort of trees
 but free from the weight of chains -
 stiffened in gloating postcards where white children were glistening,
 smiling; this was the passage of boys to men,
 men so beautiful they raised other men like them.

ar^16.
the black man was born with rhythm in his heart,
 and today he dances to the serenading voice of bullets:
 his hands up, his hands down, it doesn't matter.
 let him embrace eternal sleep induced by the blues;
 men off the hood yet the horror remain on their faces.
 nigga, your greatest crime is wanting to be equal
 and free from the reinvention of chains.
 
ar^(n - 1).
so when the blues reduce black men to hashtags and statistics
 with cadence, chords chiming in their barrels,
 the press announcing obituaries with mugshots,
 I wonder how the nth nigga will make it home to his family.
 hands down? hands up? selling CDs? not selling CDs?
 helping the disabled? not helping the disabled?
 approaching da police?
 or running away in a hearse to his mother?

There you have it. So, guys, what do you think? I’m open to criticism if only they have substance. Otherwise, LOL.