Boxed or When I Consider the African-American.
I. The poet pokes her pinpoint nose into the mix & although I did not solicit her opinions or attentions says, I like your older, less discursive work. I nod because it is the thing I have been trained to do, know she means the black girl stories, black boys, beauty shops, beat boxing on some stoop, each full up with metaphor, translation, bedeviled tongue (this of mine), full up with places I should've been/have been/should be, the metaphors she expects, does not know intimately but expects she knows, wants to know for some reason all her own. II. Dear Reader: this is a box in the box a triangle in the triangle a circle in the circle a period in the period a world, jury-rigged with meaning, but just one world. Still, it is easy to do & so let us not forget the box, its shape & form, its lyric implication, discursive meaning in opposition to (in use off) other forms. Though, true. Abstracted it is a box. In narrative it is a box. Combined: two forms, superimposed, deepened & deepening, something more into which we reach, something more from which we emerge. * Oh, let us say it thus: what is the use of color if there is to be only one sunrise, repeating its shallow heart over & over? Oh, let us say it thus: this is tautological, repetitive & repeating. III. T, I know you see it, this, where I am, in the circle, in the box, the period emphasizing some finality, all the while: trying to make something of it like some loopy cook, arms & digits mucked with flour, tossing ingredients. So what if it is pasta w/pigs feet, cornmeal w/scallops surely there must be room for the confluence of languages (flavas!) in some place other than my head. Isn't spanglish a thing? Isn't tuckus a butt? Pass me the damned pie pan, man! Let us say it thus: there are too many angles & too few roundabouts. T, I'm at the Starbucks wanting gingerbeer, at Safeway hoping for danger. The unexpected is our last horizon & where else are we to poke, to cook, to talk in our peculiar way? You asked a question, although I am not sure a question was your intention. Here is my answer: When I consider the African-American I conflate, think a lyric, peaceful, hushing branch covered with snow, its slow, inevitable bow, the heavy aggregate dropping, the inevitable swift snap back, to, upwards. When I consider the African-American I think of that poet, her choice of words, where she would have me & mine, the locus from which she would take me & what she would take from me. I think of your daughter, the sweet, fat body I held so many years ago, how she transforms, year by year into something long, narrow, her eyes wider than a child's eyes, her fingers, longer than a child's fingers, as if she is reaching for something not quite hers just yet, as if she has already seen something not quite hers just yet. & I pray, think of her body as our body, its vessel clean & clear for now, its inhabitant treasured & clean for now, not bowed to the ground by discourse or lyric but erect on its own & shooting, shooting.
CRYSTAL WILLIAMS is the author of two poetry collections, Kin and Lunatic. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. She is on faculty at Reed College and divides her time between Portland and Chicago.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||two poems|
|Publication:||The American Poetry Review|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2007|
|Previous Article:||The Next Chapter of Your Lives.|
|Next Article:||The Wives' Tales.|