Muse and Drudge

dressed as a priestess
she who carries water
mirrors mojo breasts
Yemoja’s daughter

some loose orisha gathering
where blue meets blue,
walk out to that horizon
tie her sash around you

how many heads of cowries
openmouthed oracles
drinking her bathwater
quench a craving for knowledge

kumbla of red feathers
tongues chant song
may she carry it well
and put it all down

tom-tom can’t catch
a green cabin
ginger hebben as
ancestor dances in Ashanti

history written with whitening
darkened reels and jigs
perform a mix of wiggle
slouch fright and essence of enigma

a tanned Miss Ann startles
as the slaver screen’s
queen of denial a bottle
brown as toast Egyptian

today’s dread would awe
Topsy undead her missionary
exposition in what Liberia
could she find freedom to study her story

up from slobbery
hip hyperbole
the soles of black feet
beat down back streets

a Yankee porkchop
for your knife and fork
your fill of freedom
in Philmeyork

never trouble rupture
urban space fluctuates
gentrify the infrastructure
feel up vacant spades

no moors steady whores
studs warn no mares
blurred rubble slew of vowels
stutter war no more

get off your rusty dusty
give the booty a rest
you must be more than just musty
unless you’re abundantly blessed

I can’t dance don’t chance it
if anyone asks I wasn’t present
see I wear old wrinkles
so please don’t press me

my head ain’t fried
just fresh rough dried
ain’t got to cook
nor iron it either

you’ve seen the museum of famous hats
where hot comb was an artifact
now it’s known that we use mum or numb our stresses
sometimes forget to fret about our tresses

heard about that gal
in Kansas City got meatballs
yes you shall have cake and eat
your poundcake on the wall

quickie brick houses
don’t roll rickrack stones
or bats eyelashes rocks you
till bric-a-brac’s got no home

ain’t had chick to chirp nor child to talk
not pot to piss in, no dram to drink
get my hands on money marbles and chalk
I’ll squeeze till eagle grin, till pyramid wink

tussy-mussy mufti
hefty duty rufty-tufty
flub dub terra incog
mulched hearts agog

hooked on phonemes imbued with exhuberance
our spokeswoman listened for lines
heard tokens of quotidian
corralled in ludic routines

slumming umbra alums
lost some of their parts
getting a start
in the department of far art

monkey’s significant uncle
blond as a bat
took off beat path
through tensile jungle

dark work and hard
though any mule can
knock down the barn
what we do best requires finesse

Muse and Drudge (Excerpt)

Last updated February 21, 2023