by Robert Hayden
O masks and metamorphoses of Ahab, Native Son
The icy evil that struck his father down
and ravished his mother into madness
trapped him in violence of a punished self
struggling to break free.
As Home Boy, as Dee-troit Red,
he fled his name, became the quarry of
his own obsessed pursuit.
He conked his hair and Lindy-hopped,
zoot-suited jiver, swinging those chicks
in the hot rose and reefer glow.
His injured childhood bullied him.
He skirmished in the Upas trees
and cannibal flowers of the American Dream--
but could not hurt the enemy
powered against him there.
Last updated May 02, 2015