April 29, 2004

Don't Make Me Laugh

While attempting to dwindle down my favorite poems to a single one for P.O.Y.B. Day, I thought it would be a hoot to post some excerpts of some of my poems (I nearly self-published a collection started in a poetry course at Hunter College. Thank g-d for common sense!):

The stout Brown man" Fingers snapping, head rolling, they eyes solemn. Keeping pace, like Monk to an inner rhythm rising.

Black into green.
Red into gold.
The idea keen
as Jazz for a sunday mourn.

The jazzman coming,
roots African,
branches Brooklyn.

-- from Blue Light (Just Like the Jazzman)

That was dedicated to pops. He's a major jazzhead. He'd get together with his best friend Walter and talk jazz the entire time. And they had this game where they'd tried to outwit each other, guessing the personnel playing smooth sounds on each other's vinyl collection. I thought Dad had a large collection. Uncle Wally put him to shame: he had an entire room just for his collection. Dad had maybe 3000 - 4500 in total. Walter's had to be at least 3 times the lower end of Dad's collection. He was/is a perfection illustration of obsession.

This poem was partially inspired by the poetry of Lorna Goodison who I was lucky enojgh to exchange letters with after my then professor sent her my review of her poem "For Don Drummond."

* * * * * * * * * *
Because memory is the wine of quiet humiliation:

From the leaving, trouble.
The bumble-bee run wearing a mas' of defiance--
"Not on duty."

The funkysteelrockinhorse led us on.
Bringing down the prince of Trini-Town.
His ruby crown a'gone!!

How I suppose to know six is a slow, slow man?
Four/Five a mad, mad rush?!

-- from I Remember the Chinese Pavilion

That was inspired by a first date with a colleague at B------- G------ more than a dozen years ago. C. had a crush on me and the attraction was mutual. She (yes, I wrote "she" dammit!!) was a sweet, somewhat naive cutey and I was just beginning to break out of my shell. Anyway, I wanted to treat her to a nice, adult dinner for her birthday. She was not use to be treated like a lady and going out to a "goo" restaurant. The date was a disaster. We both worked that day and I had to make arrangements to switch schedules with some co-workers and change into something nice from my funky security guard uniform. I was pretty much not feeling the day but changed my mind after seeing how beautiful C. was. She was practically glowing. My mood would constantly be changed throughout the night.

First, we couldn't catch a cab. Where's Danny Glover when you need him? Then the restaurant — which I've long since forgotten — had a long ass wait and she convinced me to go to settle on a dingy little Chinese hole-in-the-wall across the street. The food was less than mediocre, halfway through a roach joined our party and the waitstaff was kinda...no, downright rude to us.

Anyway, the poem is a play on that night as re-imagined through the view of a Carribbean couple I saw on the platform across the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall stop from me as I returned home — alone and horny! — that night. For some reason I always have a difficult time getting home late at night from Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station. So, my imagination runs wild and I instantly thought they (the Caribbean couple) must have had a bad date as well. However, you could tell that they were a long-time couple by their body language and familiarity with each other.

Real poems tomorrow, although I promise to highlight just one as part of P.O.Y.B. Day.

Posted by ronn at April 29, 2004 11:33 PM

These poems, which are quite good.. I really like the imagery "Fingers snapping, head rolling, they eyes solemn..." I can see him possessed by the music, picked up and carried along.... the poems and your descriptions remind me how much more intense poems are when they're spoken. I guess that is their real nature, rather than being read silently in my mind from the page. Do you still have all your early poems? I trashed mine years ago. I wish I hadn't done that. Posted by: don on April 30, 2004 05:54 PM