Wednesday, October 27, 2010


...she is one of the many
and she is each of us.
Rita Dove

My palm
shows a long line
leading down
to sugar cane fields
and laced muslin.

Somewhere between
slave girl and slave master
by generations,
I evolved exotic --

aquamarine eyes,
mahagony hair
streaked with sun,
all natural. I am
the demi-tasse girl,
half of each
whose latte'd skin
dazzles the runway
and disturbs the southern
rebel who fears less
than a teaspoonful
of human coffee served
at his table

Bistro or bar room,
still, I drive to both
traveling the road
with a dotted line,
moving in and out
of broken limits, yellow bricks
that do not stretch
toward sweet home
or wizard land

but just divide
a tongue stuttering
traffic, this dirt road
paved over
yet rooted deep
in that wagon path
winding along the sea,
fanned by large leaves
elipsed by chain links
hinting there will be
more to come, much more.


My palm
bears a long vein, veta madre
into this ancestry
of dark night, pale dawn.

I am left
the molten candle
burning at some table,
my breath
a steady flame, my flesh
hot, breatheable
so the perfume
seeps in, and sometimes
the shame perspires
with its own brand
more costly
than the bottled illusion
of Chanel
or The Sacred Tears of Thebes.
I spill a little
on your skin. Stay still
and telll me how it feels, soaks
into a flawless stalk of bone.

The beautiful and compelling portrait above is called, "Tyra" by African-American artist, Garnett Thompkins.

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