Tuesday, June 16, 2009


A Black Lady

She sat on the Lex line #2
pink patent crossed feet
and goodluck fish danglin
from the wrist
Say hello
calmly nod but no more
cause she don't play with kids
Pink patent crossed feet
crust on one knee ash layin
in the thumb
How far down is she goin
Where is she comin from
and how far down is backin up
Stop starin
would if you could
but can't
cause spirits in her eyes say
she goin to the stop where you can
say more
and she don't have to hold
that bag so tight

--Elouise Loftin
(Aldon Lynn Nielsen on Loftin)

Under the Edge of February

Under the edge of February
in hawk of a throat
hidden by ravines of sweet oil
by temples of switch blades
beautiful in its sound of fertility
beautiful in its turban of funeral crepe
beautiful in its camouflage of grief
in its solitude of bruises
in its arson of alert

Who will enter its beautiful calligraphy of blood

Its beautiful mask of fish net
mask of hubcaps mask of ice picks mask
of watermelon rinds mask of umbilical cords
changing into mask of rubber bands
Who will enter this beautiful mask of
punctured bladders moving with a mask of chapsticks

Compound of Hearts Compound of Hearts

Where is the lucky number for this shy love
this top-heavy beauty bathed with charcoal water
self-conscious against a mosaic of broken bottles
broken locks broken pipes broken
bloods of broken spirits broken through like
broken promises

Landlords Junkies Thieves
enthroning themselves in you
they burn up couches they burn down houses
and infuse themselves against memory
every thought
a pavement of old belts
every performance
a ceremonial pick up
how many more orphans how many neglected shrines
how many more stolen feet stolen gums
stolen watchbands of death
in you how many times


hidden by ravines of sweet oil
by temples of switch blades
beautiful in your sound of fertility
beautiful in your turban of funeral crepe
beautiful in your camouflage of grief
in your solitude of bruises in
your arson of alert

--Jayne Cortez

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