Cry Brother, Cry

Cry Brotha, cry
Private retreat of alluvial heart.
Where some turned diamonds,
Some made the news,
Some found some,
Anger made a man of you.
Butcher-knife to moods caged well for our benefit,
Until the kettle whistles.
Absent rhyme or reason,
Your madness comes neat.

Cry Brotha, cry
You grab that filthy skin of yours from that coat rack,
You detest missing teeth in a small door-side mirror,
You walk nude the dank biting streets,
Where your envy bemoans youth,
Your boyhood memories are but tiny black feet tracking mud on kitchen linoleum,
And you’re in the sunlight,
And you can smell the bouillon.

Cry Brotha, cry
Squeak-squeak. tire-swing in the backyard,
The old man never quit finished anything, did he?
Its genetic. Sometimes death is a kindness.
Folded into genes, seeds between toes, a red lint in the hem of your pocket,
A gift for never finishing.
You buried that glass shard his wife pulled from your open red scalp,
Reason why you dumb as nails. Reason enough.
A gift he left you cos you talked too damn much for a skinny rat who ain’t shit,

Cry Brotha, cry
Now roguish cheeks are concrete-tough,
Right enough to soak single tears,
Throat aches from forced civility,
That big, intrepid lion heart you prized is rent,
And your little ego is in shoeboxes marked ‘fragile’
When your exquisite politics is bad-mouthed
You long to kick an activist in the head,
When you hanker after your neighbor’s healthy wife,
Virile. Voluptuous. Vivacious. Vivian.
No one, no one can blame us.
Since the one into whose eyes you once dipped your toes,
Your once lover,
Now comes thru beaded curtain,
Timeworn, folded, a hairy bag of tricks,
Carbon-copy of your maman.
For you, she is ripe, steeped in vitriol.

Cry Brotha, cry
Now boyish charms fade thru hot exhales,
And your days of waste count in S.I. units of regrets,
You size up smaller men by fragile jaws,
The things you could do if it pleased,
If only, if back when.
In truth, you know you are most powerful in your favorite armchair,
The king of two,
My mother and I.

Die Brotha, die
Armchair shined from squeezing knuckles,
Friday night. Boulevards.
I watch you sidle aghast under neon lights,
Nothing out here for you but glass eyes,
Rude lights, a cold wrist,
A stranger’s tobacco awakes something in you,
Like me, you are the unseen creep,
Friends, hair, and sinew have thinned,
And all you are, mirror-mirror,
Your old man again-again,
When in doubt, cry brotha, cry
It’s the best you could ever do for your kingdom.
The best you ever did.

Image | Unsplash | JD Mason | @jmason

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