Do Not Walk Through the Neighborhood of My Body

0

without the protection of ten stone-cold knuckles.

Without a blade that retracts as an apology for what it’s done.

Without a gun for the bullet’s soliloquy and a magnet in your head.

 

But if you come without, come play witness. Happen on the fact that solar

eclipse happens upon us everyday; the night just yawns here, swallows

many: black boys, black girls –          FLY

 

wearing gold chains and charms that don’t flash in your eye quite

like holy light, more like a highlight ran blonde

through natural black hair, but man, keep your hands

out the hair of all these women ‘round here!

 

Control that jungle fever, girl!

Best not come here with only your midnight hunger,

mouth watering for low-hanging fruit of the loom, swinging.

 

Nestled on the branches all up and through here

are the fathers you said we didn’t have: tarred-and-feathered

angels we try good and never to forget, proven so soft

while they were being broken by gravity,

snapped off the family tree

at the snap of a neck

at the snap of a finger.

 

Oh my sweet Jesus the way you love us!

Kissing boots to the back of our necks, and that’s just

the minster, doing missionary work,

trying to save us from the judge.

 

And now, in every house in every skin cell,

Panthers peek through the blinds, rifles ready for riot,

waiting for them fools to come and try to get them.

 

Them fools might be you, and the coldest sweat down my cheek

is that you can’t comprehend the meaning of your own coming:

 

the coded threat, imply of going pale, our fearing

your fear of us, typical roles reversed one rotation more as must be done

with mirrors made of distorted history;

 

my blood is mostly water that can’t help but show your reflection:

pristine teeth, smiling – the makings of a hemo-goblin.

 

Photo by Nicholas Michaud

Share.

About Author

Cortney Lamar Charleston is a Cave Canem fellow and Pushcart Prize nominated poet living in Jersey City, NJ. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Eleven Eleven, Fugue, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Journal, The Normal School, Pleiades, Rattle, Southern Humanities Review and elsewhere.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: