Printer Friendly

Doug's Piece.

 blue fingers yellow eyes autumn exodus of fireflies
 captain, my eyes turnstile to you you always set the pace forcing us to
keep up
starting a half century ago at 56 St. Nicholas Avenue where you
established the run for the 4 heartbeats behind you
Gary--Billy--Neal--and me always me far far behind catching my
breath/breathing hard
I already had pneumonia twice before figuring out you couldn't stop
because you were still figuring out if you were a Jet or a Shark from
West Side Story
spending those Saturday afternoons in the Morningside Theatre hypnotized
by Goldfinger and Dr. No
your sister Peggy was giving us grueling dance lessons on the heat wave,
the skate, and the uptown version of the twist, determined to turn us
into The Pips
watching Jackie Wilson stroll down 7th Avenue stopping in the barbershop
for his new process/jet-black/jet-jet black jet-jet-jet black before the
matinee at the Apollo/and then the evening show
me, that 4th heartbeat behind you playing stickball, learning the
sewer-to-sewer rule
during our seven year-old innocence one cold February night we sent arcs
of urine from the rooftop watching the steamy streak of silver turn
golden in the snow/barely missing Mrs. Bell when she leaned out the
window on the 2nd floor
the following spring the Mets played their first game in the Polo
Grounds with a catcher named Choo Choo Coleman
and Willie Mays came through with the exiled Giants/giving out new
spauldeens/showing us how to really play the game
Floyd Patterson in the penny candy store buying us penny
candies/showings us feints and jabs before fading away in the shadows of
a new guy named Cassius Clay
that summer we spent lazy afternoons slurping purple ice pops/drinking
White Rock grape sodas/my teeth and tongue a deep purple/ making my very
yellow eyes really glow
in the mornings you bagged groceries in Raymond's store
sometimes/from dawn to dusk
captain earning your own nickels dimes quarters nickels dimes quarters
showing us how to graduate into
the world of work/paying allegiance to our parents/aunts/uncles
Uncle Bill moving two tons of trash a day on his sanitation truck with
his Popeye arms
after there was no more water for the fire
you moved to the Bronx/a world away from Harlem/ Uncle Wesley's
no-look passes in the armory/
I learned to take the 26 bus over the Willis Avenue Bridge
riding the elevator from the 14th floor to the 1st floor from the 14th
floor to the 1st floor
asking you to give me and my sickle cell anemia/ a break
with my P.F. fliers, I sat on the side watching you play full court
basketball/wiping the backboard so clean/I called you Windex
always in front of me always in front of me
with your Chuck Taylor Big O sneakers Uncle Lenny sipping coffee
teaching us about banking and how not to stay on the corner and
the promise you made to escape ... somewhere ... somewhere ... somewhere
the first to have a car taking us to Uncle Pat's rib joint where
even the sliced bread stood attention over the barbecue sauce
more than nickels/dimes/quarters nickels/dimes/quarters
we left each other for a while
me deeper into Brooklyn/more girls/ stickball/r and b
then down into the southeast/counting grapefruits as they fell off
trucks/seeing my father who didn't tell his wife and 2 kids/he
already had 3 other wives and 4 kids
in Vero Beach where I was asked out of a bar/too many
Goldwater/Confederate/Wallace stickers
eyeballing me moved back to New York couldn't find you for a while
me still trying to understand
my sickle cell/crises/less frequent now
you asked about it during 9/11 when we talked about my sister
Denise/over Doublemint gum/her nine inning demise from the/
double stroke double renal failure
shared our thoughts of Miles/ Mingus/ Monk
I can still play the Duke of Earl
taking that long smooth ride to see you
"Good, Dee," you said. " "We need to get
no longer did I feel so far away/craving our grandmother's cod fish
cakes/spice buns/ early morning coffee
realizing only hummingbirds/fly/ backwards 
COPYRIGHT 2013 Institute of African-American Affairs (IAAA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Alladice, Darryl
Publication:Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2013
Previous Article:Single File.
Next Article:Memory of Skin.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |