Literary Zone

Poetry: (Am I?) A Man-Not

2 March 2020 at 13:30 | 2193 views

(Am I?) A Man-Not

By Fayia Sellu, USA

(For Tommy Curry)

Get back on the train, you fool!
Elongate the Jim Crow chain gang
Spitting, vomiting on your head, you’re smiles
Keep telling yourself to hold back, for miles.
Mileage, smileage, slimage or scrimmage
Half the battle is to rattle in one’s cage.
Definition, name, language can age
Well or not. As culture needs common denominator
The Negro. The fossils that supply fuel for James
Baldwin’s lover’s quarrel with America.
It’s stultifying, fighting, resenting being
Hyper-melanated beings. Beyond the cadillacs
All that jazz, negro spirituals, blues, hip hop
Skipping seismic race faultlines on the Mason-
Dixon line or either side of the Rockies.
The more we know about DNA, the less we ask:
“What have lilac lunches to do with piassava mornings?”
Mama may not have raised a fool
What (s/he?) raised, was a man-child of the house
Man, but less, as not to be chopped down.
Everything else is disastrous, freedom dangerous.

Young? You will know the sedentary notes of Americanness
At Edinburg, an expatriate folking with the countryside
Condensing the lone tributary flow into the Broken River
Of scholarly introjection into Black Masculinity.
Matters not the molecular basis of Cotton and Baobab brothers
Mothered differently, on the same European procrustean bed.
There is more “hue” and less “man” in the political economy
Of Niggerdom. A third testicle is needed to theorize outside
The asphalt cast. Inside black male death and dying
Rape and vulnerability, like clockwork, and refuse commute
With the more jangly, shiny, identity commuters of the
Civil Rights Train. Can the form castrate the content
When nuance dances to sound of eschatological dilemmas
Glowing the confabulating discontentents of Not Everybody’s
Protest Theory? Huh? Never Mind. Where was I?
Oh! A Scottish pine does not the Caledonian make
May Corstorphine Hill and Heritage of Braid
Pumice you with the ecology to, Breathe!

Grow, absent the atmospheric languor, to you, at once
Diacritical inscription, and not.