Change We Can Believe In

“It was like hamburger meat shootin’ out of his chest.” 

His burger was rare; blood & oil ran down his double-chinned beard, down his marshmallow-chain fingers, staining his freedom fries. Nirvana on his face. Brown on the outside, pink on the inside. Just like a nigger.

 

I.

That nicotine itch on the back of my brain. Dim lights, lukewarm coffee, waitresses preparing for the worst. Denny’s. Just after Friday, approaching 2AM, the bars letting out soon; the diner to be filled with drunk, obnoxious GI’s & 20-somethings who wished they didn’t live here anymore. All looking to fight or to fuck, some looking for both, maybe simultaneously. Our cue to leave.

Three of us: me, King, and Jones. This story’d be better if you knew ‘em. Hell, your life would be better if you knew ‘em. But I’m sure this story & your life will both be pretty good anyway, so let’s move on. We’re black, the three of us. I wouldn’t usually take the time to point that out, wouldn’t usually have to, but again, you don’t know us. Yet.

Waiting for the bill, got that paranoid itch on the back of my neck. Turn around — green eyes socketed into a blue-collar cracker, polo shirt that doesn’t fit on so many levels. Looks like he’s got something to say.

People stare at King. A lot. He’s not a fan of that. He engages our suitor, with a touch of menace in his voice:

“Yo, you need something man, or what?”

Guy picks up his burger.

“You ever seen that movie, Boondock Saints? Best goddamn movie ever made. They’re making a sequel. I killed a black guy once.”

Takes a bite; just like that.

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[Post(script]ture)

A Reading from the Book of Genesis

“And she said to them, ‘Call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me…”

Ruth 1:20

I.

I once described you as an ancient garden–lost, but not forgotten. Created by a jealous God, who though omniscient, could never truly know the feeling of your whisper in His ear, nor your skin contacting His, nor feel His pulse quicken at your approach, fed by the passions of mortality. But if I now call you a martyr, love, don’t take offense: a rose by any other name would still wilt and die.

II.

I’m the sentry who drove that (mi)stake deep inside you. Your expression showed strain, but you took it all in–the sins of men laid upon you. Transubstantiated by the music of organs, a rhythmic hymn to which sing, with a voice not quite of angels…more like nephilum.

III.

Your nails ran like sweat down my naked back. Crimson lips trailed like blood down my neck, down my chest, down my stomach…And as I reached down, I knew that once I slid inside you would clench, and hold on. And those fingers would never again reach for the heavens, but instead for the shadows–for the damp warmth of the earth. Your cunt is where grace dies: it is the depths to which the angels fell, the first and final battleground.

IV.

You are a coffin awaiting a corpse. What is the afterlife to me now? Your womb is the soil for the tree of life–your legs, the road to immortality. And where the paths intersect, a dew-covered blossom guards the gate and swallows all sin, all reason, all pain. I no longer fear death: your mouth tastes of ashes; your skin is smooth and cool like stones from a river; you smell like dead flowers, and laugh as though you were never a child.

V.

You are my Holy Mother, my Golden Calf, my Promised Land, my Jezebel. Without you, I could live forever…but without you, what would be the point?

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