Friday, January 18, 2008

Beast’s Beauty

(a continuation of the poem Exile Propriety published in Gathering Ground: A Cave Canem Reader)


Pretty Johnny Sinclair married L.G. Whitely;
got an M.B.A.; and settled down quietly.

Bought the cottage next door to L.G.’s Mama.
Lives life’s edges behind the wheel of a Hummer.

When some niggers egged his house,
Taser armed police eager to Negro roust,

dug out long-memoried ‘Burgh old school
and repeated the words his father spewed.

Any race with a checkbook in hand
can help police completely understand

that Boys will be boys.


this is my exciting 75
minutes of personal time
I am alive!

white mini van whips
through icy Pittsburgh streets
to 1 hour dry cleaning hoping

to transform a wrinkled black rubbish bag
of muted cashmere rainbows
button down kaleidoscopes

sexy dress pants

into pristine casual business my heart races
towards a pernickety crone who claws each sweater;
counts each button; examines every stain

of my moth-eaten poor housekeeping,
and failure
to marry fastidious

perfect meticulousness.
in line ahead of me
rewinds my personal footage

C.U.: mulatta with butt-long dreads too lazy to spend
the mandatory 5 toning and shaping hours at the gym
begs wizened old bitty to clean her husband’s sweaters
with lips that used to birth and blow the Luna Moth’s moon ascent.

PAN OUT: dreads swinging knee low, Tragic Yellow creeps
towards filthy, mud-splashed grey mini-van. ticket in hand
loudly squawking, “SWEATER, HOLES / 4 BUTTONS BROKEN”

CGI animated bars clink into place.
CUE taunting music.
ANIME SOUND FX: Slam! Chink!! Clink!!

Each note and slamming metal bar sound
composed to highlight
the subtext. housewife. bad

bad housewife drives home
Subtitles: @#&^ ** F^^%
I am a housewife I think I am

really truly
a housewife

CUE: Christian music celebrating helpmeets
C.U. Tragic Mulatta’s hand punching in WAMO
SOUND FX: disjointed cacophony.

C.U. smile
C.U. creepy, silent tear.
LONG SHOT: mini-van tearing up the parkway.


my brother believes
he is behind bars

a criminal

fugitive from family
stuck in Philly and thrilled to have been

a protector of rock stars
in the same smokey clubs

where I used to pretend to speak
WORD taller than this man

whose spirit envelopes

a holy place
where just being

makes happy.


three months since i went to the 25th high school reunion
recall the invitation reminding us

she’d moved into the cottage
next door to her parent’s house

so much better
i thought

so together
this one night only

an exhibit of literary journal and school
newspapers immaculately archived

all twelve of our yearbooks;
her varsity letters - every pin and patch,

graduation bouquet preserved
by a pressed yellow rose .

driving past L.G.’s house

flag pole. manicured lawn. symmetrical topiary
the 8 bedroom cottage with 3 car garage

is orderly. her husband
does not stain his blazers or trousers

no feasting moths reside with them.
she is a happy housewife,

with children in school and
lots of time.....

like me
and so not. i think

in my voluntary estate sale,
thrift store, second hand

bargain basement



smelling garbage makes happy
wiping shitty children’s assses makes happy
being alive makes happy;
breathing makes happy;

eating the food you cook for yourself
happy. is where you are
in proximity to things which bring you joy.

nothing is happy
very very happy!
this is my brother’s wisdom
he is no one important.

he has always just been


Deesha said...

I just burst into applause! The imagery--I think we go to the same dry cleaners!--leapt off the screen.

Thanks for this.


Christina Springer said...

Thanks Deesha! Oh, what I would give to paw through the closets of the cackling dry cleaning crone's nests! For, I too, can make lists!