Cry, Brotha Cry

Cry, Brotha cry
in that private retreat of alluvial heart.
Where some turned diamonds,
Some made the news,
Some found chalk.
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 stop to detest missing teeth in a small door-side mirror,
You walk nude, these dank biting streets,
Your envy bemoans youth,
Your boyhood memories are but tiny black feet tracking mud on kitchen linoleum,
You papa’s boot smelled like a man’s
And you’re were in the sunlight,
The neigbors had a forbidden swing set
And you can smell the bouillon and spicy
ose from your maman’s pot

Cry, Brotha cry
Squeak-squeak. tire-swing in the backyard,
Your papa never quit finished anything, did he?
Its genetic. All his magic.
Sometimes death is a kindness.
Folded into genes,
like seeds between toes,
ink stain in the hem of your pocket,
A gift for never finishing.
You kept the glass shard his wife pulled from your open red scalp,
A gift he left you cos you talked too damn much for a skinny boy who ain’t shit,
You dumb as nails was reason enough.

Cry, Brotha cry
Now your roguish cheeks are concrete-tough,
tough enough to soak up 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,
or you hanker after your neighbor’s healthy wife,
Virile. Voluptuous. Vivacious. Vivian.
No one, no one can blame you.
Since the one into whose eyes you once dipped your toes,
Now comes thru beaded curtain,
Timeworn. Folded. A hairy bag of tricks.
she know how to evade your temper.
For you, she is ripe, steeped in vitriol.
Carbon-copy of your maman.

Cry, Brotha cry
Now boyish charms fade as 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 the court,
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 cinching knuckles,
Friday night. Boulevards.
I watch you sidle the wet streets under neon lights,
Nothing out here for you but glass eyes, and too-happy liberals,
Rude lights, a cold wrist,
A stranger’s tobacco awakens 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,
When in doubt, die, brotha, die
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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