Monday, May 2, 2011

WHEN DOGS BARK 2 ...Is Here!

Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

After the Club

Empty handed, empty hearted, empty pocketed you go home
Where is the love Where is the love your heart sings a sad sad song
You drank and acted a fool, laughed when you wanted to cry
Kept up appearances in the Ed Hardy rags you procured from Costco
You flashed change, chain and eyes. One paid attention then
Discounted your pennies and cheap gold filled dreams
You didn’t matter naked or clothed in his eyes
Your change and chains ain’t enough
To warm your bed.


You know the type
they never grow up,
baseball cap backwards
arms that once held
bricks and babies
now holding a forty ounce to
fifty year old lips.  They just
never, never grow up.
Been doing the same shit
for years and eons
only this time their new agenda
doesn't have tits
"I'm all about your ass, boy"

They love loving you
like you the last man
then leaving your ass or
dumping you unceremoniously
out the front door as they
put out the garbage,
the garbage you smell like.
You knew it was coming
but the bourbon, baby, on his breath
was an aphrodisiac.  You knew where you were going
before you got there.
All you wanted to do was borrow those arms
for just a few minutes to cradle your weary ass.

And aren't you the type yourself
that's been getting dumped for years?
You know the body language so well
after the "ooh, ooh, oh shit nigga!"
and before the Elmer's glue cum
dries on your belly, you feel his hand slip away
from your shoulder like a falling silk garment
and you are more naked at that moment
than you were at birth.
You watch him glance at his watch
that he never pulled off and his eyes
bright and alert with afterlust
tell you he's got to get up early
got to get up early before his
cat, dog, wife, roommate wakes up
got to get up early before
his dick wakes up and he gets
horny for your ass and don't make it to work
on time.

And then you hear this:
"You cute, but you ain't quite the one
to settle me down.
You almost there though, dawg.
Yeah you can be my road dog.
You see I like a nigga who..."

You shrug it off
You never been anybody's "one."
So you roll out of his bed
and walk out his his door his life
A notions hits you on the way home
You stop by the Handy Dan
for some Elmer's glue and a wooden plunger.
On top of your soiled satin sheets
you spread the glue over your belly and nipples
you take the head of the plunger up your ass
and you don't stop until you taste wood and shit.



            Do you remember that rainy day, when the rain trapped you in my house, (when the rain was to me like Christmas tinsel and not razor blades), and we played husband and wife?  Do you remember that day?  My Big Mama dozed in front of the TV as "Another World" flickered in front of her closed eyes.  Eric snoozed.  The sheets formed a tent from his erection.  We watched that tent rise and fall in time with his breathing.  I didn't know then, but now I know why we all of a sudden wanted to play husband and wife.  The rain fills people with romantic notions.  That's why I can forgive a certain bus driver.
            We argued over who was going to be the husband coming in from the rain from working hard on the job.  You won when you said the husband had to be a boy.  Why I thought a woman could be a husband, I don't know.  I knew I didn't want to be no boy.
            You wore my Mother's colander for a hard hat and a "Ninja Turtles" lunch kit was your tool box.  You went outside on the front porch and stood for a few minutes while I pretended to be the wife inside the house washing dishes.  You kept coming in before your time and I had to keep sending you out.
            "Wait a minute, boy . . . I'm washing dishes . . . No you can't come in yet, I'm watching 'The Young and the Restless' . . . Okay now you can come in 'cause I'm cooking your supper . . ."
            You came in and pecked me on the cheek, looked in my pot at the imaginary beans an rice and said they smelled good.  Then you said you had to get out of your wet clothes.  I said "you can't get naked in the kitchen.  You got to go in the bathroom or the bedroom."  And you said, "where they at?"  And I said, "silly husband, you don't know where your bedroom or bathroom is?"  You twisted my arm and made me tell you.  Behind a big old blue vinyl dinette chair where Big Mama had some red flower pots, was the bathroom.  You said you had never seen a red commode.  I said pretend it's white.  Underneath the kitchen table was our bedroom.
            You went into the "bathroom" and took off all of your clothes for real and pretended to take a shower.  I stopped cooking to look at you.  You said, "Woman, you can't see when I'm taking a shower because there's a wall there."  I said, "the wall fell down.  Our bad children knocked it down."  You said, Okay you was going to whip them when you got out of the shower.  So you got through showering and put a dish towel around your waist and came back into the kitchen and asked which one of our children knocked down the wall?  I pointed to my dolls and said all of them did.  You told the dolls "I'm going to whip you for knocking down that wall."  All the dolls that had on panties, you pulled their panties off and spanked them with your hand.  The ones that didn't have on panties, you whipped them harder with an extension cord because they were nasty for not wearing panties and had been doing the "nasty" with some boys.
            Then you tried to whip me with the extension cord.  But I
told you you couldn't whip me like that because I was a grown woman and your wife.  You said okay, but I got to beat you 'cause you let the children tear down the wall and you don't have my supper ready.  and I said okay, but a man beats a lady with his fists.  You pushed me around and pretended to give me a black eye.  I found a Magic marker and drew a half moon under my eye.  After you beat me I went  out on the porch and acted like I was crying.  You came out on the porch still wearing our dish towel.  I forgot we was playing and said, "Girl, you can't come out on the porch in a dish towel!"  You said a man can go on the porch in a towel or his drawers as long as he ain't naked.  I said, Okay.
            I pretended to cry some more.  I said I was going to go to a woman's shelter.  You said, baby come back in the house.  I'm sorry I beat you.  So we hugged and made up and we went back into the house and I finished cooking your supper.  You sat down at the table in the dish towel.  I said hold on wait a minute, you can't sit at the table in a towel in front of the children.  You said I"m a man, I can do whatever I want.  And I said I'm the woman of the house, and I say a man has to be dressed when he eats in front of the children.  You never see the daddy on the "Cosby Show" eating in a towel in front of his children.  And he don't beat his wife.  You said yes he do when nobody's looking.
            I started to cry for real and said, "Please LaKeisha Ann, play fair!  Yo never want to do things the way I want to do them.  And you said, "Shut up, silly bitch.  I don't want to be your husband anyway.  Next thing, you'll want me to put a carrot between my legs and poke you in your snatch."
            You whipped off the dish towel, put on your clothes, and went home.  The sun came out and painted the kitchen gold.  But all I could do was sit down at the table and cry.  I cried and the dolls cried too because they wanted their Daddy.  And ever since that day I've been curious about carrots.  They served some here the other day and it made me think of you.


PS. I told the story to Big Fingers and he said a carrot is a poor substitute for a man, but he like the part about us playing husband and wife.

(Novel Excerpt from THE ROAD to ASTROWORLD)


Chicago sleeps on Sunday
Gaped mouth and ugly,
Saliva dribbles on the clean white concrete.
Breath reeks fishy with dead semen.
Chicago sleeps on Sunday.

The city goes to work on Monday
Grumpy and long faced it greets gray time clocks.
Giant yellow caterpillars dig into earth.
Clicking typewriters write Bullshit
In sixty-nine languages.
The city goes to work on Monday.

Chicago grooves on Tuesday.
Alert after two days of black coffee,
It makes conversation. Everyone
Has taped the "Dancing Siamese Twins" on Geraldo.
This diversion makes the city laugh sweetly and
Chicago grooves on Tuesday.

The city humps on Wednesday.
The clicking typewriters thump out contracts.
Fat Polish bosses sign them in blue ink.
The caterpillars chew out a hole large
Enough to bury two pyramids and a Sears Tower.
The grocery stores announce
"Hams--ten cents a pound"
'Cause cholera is killing
South American hogs and Strongmen.
The city shrugs its shoulders.

Thursday blows in from Lake Michigan.
State Street prisoners are anxious.
Got one more day to go,
One more contract to chew.
It rains at noon.
The city has just busted a blood vessel.
There are hog guts all over the Loop.
Miss Pearl, head of Data Entry
Has just caught Chicago's third error.
She yells, "There's a tub of
Cow shit difference between 100
And 1000--Do you want the market to crash,
The world to end, to lose your job?"
"Hell yes," the City screams.
It goes home and beats its wife.
Blows echo like jack hammers.

Chicago is a perky as a young breeze on Friday.
The eagle has flown.
Miss Pearl gets a sweet kiss from
one of her blond “girls.”
Wives recovering from Thursdays are
Invited to lunch. Blood roses
Match swollen cheeks. Promises are made
To buy "Beloved" a tiger coat.
On Friday Night, love is naked,
Bellies glide together.
The city makes its babies.

Chicago sleeps late on Saturday,
Yawns, fondles its privates,
Goes to breakfast at 11 a.m.,
Remembers ham is ten cents a pound,
Vomits, goes to the cleaners,
Retrieves  the shiny night clothes of
Red satin and brass buttons.

Saturday night, State Street bathes in blood.
Liquor flows down hot bellies,
Miss Pearl's mouth earns her a toe tag,
Brains dissolve on sidewalks.
Rage rains in the city's heart.
Blood fills lonesome stockyards.
A barking dog causes a riot.
"Niggers" in Cicero incite Armageddon.
Skins are tender and heads thick,
Sirens wail and cry like mourners.

Chicago buries Miss Pearl on Sunday
 On top of old hog carcasses.


Crying Shame

Mother, would you weep
if you knew your son rose
from his sick bed of antiseptic lilies
threw off his death linen
and cruised the corners
looking for his father--
the father you drove from your bosom
with words stuck to ice picks?

You wonder why your son drills
his tongue through your breast
as his lips do their surrogate duty.

Mother, he’s only mimicking your ice pick.

You should have buried that weapon
deep in your thighs, closed your eyes
to your man’s infidelities, let him know the son
who hungers so much for his callused hands.
The boy lurks on street corners
with lifelines dangling from his arms like worms,
looking into all cars even hearses,
for eyes, lips, and hands that mirror his. 


The best time to be naked is 3:00 am
Black velvet skin is the proper attire
As you stand on your balcony
Stroking the night—
A little drink, a little smoke, a little lonely.

There ought to be other men
Standing on their porches too
Aiming the red tips of their cigarettes
At you.

Published at Velvet Mafia 2005


My Father was no character.
Simply a man who ate a lot,
Loved the Tropicana, jumbo shrimp in crispy skins,
Stood on the cut in sharp-toed orange shoes
Outside of places where cue balls
Cracked like knuckles,
Answered the "Whys" a little boy rushed
To his ears like rainwater pouring, as he steady
Piloted the red and white winged Plymouth.

He was the one I conned into
Buying me candy at the market--A bear in yellow hard-hat
Taking me for rides in a big mouthed truck,
Dozing in church, breathing heavy
Flicking a napkinned breeze toward his face
Like you bat away a fly,
Leaping over fences before lying
Gray-skinned and still in his casket.

This, the only time I feared him.


                                                A majority of Emmett Till's family members said Thursday that they object to plans by the Justice Department to exhume his body in order to find clues to solve his brutal murder 50 years ago. . . . Till was 14-years-old when he left his home on Chicago's South Side to visit relatives in Mississippi on Aug. 21, 1955. His mother advised him about how to behave when interacting with white people because race relations there were a lot different than in Chicago. On August 24, Till and his cousin, Curtis Jones, went into the small town of Money, and stopped at Bryant's Grocery store to buy some candy. Some local boys dared Till to speak to Carolyn Bryant, the white store clerk. He allegedly whistled at the woman when he left the store. Four days later, Till's body was discovered in the Tallahatchie River, weighted down by a cotton gin fan tied around Till's neck with barbed wire. Two men, storeowner Roy Bryant and his half-brother, J. W. Milam, were charged and acquitted of the murder. They bragged about the crime three months later in a Look magazine article.
-- Karen E. Pride, Chicago Defender May 6, 2005

What y’all aim to find by
digging up his old bones?
Old old bones, old and innocent bones
Why y’all want to disturb him?
He ain’t with his bones.
He down here in the muck with me
and ain’t nobody trying to dig my rusty ass up.
His Mama, bless her heart, she got the bones
and that head that looked like a bad cabbage.
Thousands seen it in Chicago. Millions through Jet.
Where was my picture? I suffered.
I used to gleam prissy and howl
now mud bugs nest in my teeth.

I kept the good stuff off that boy—his spirit, his soul, his spleen
caressed it out of his naked body
The real Emmett sometimes he runs up the road to Money
gooses that white gal between her legs—boy still gots
that spunk in him.
Then he runs back to me for shelter.
Carolyn wakes up, rubs her thigh
goes back to sleep.  1955 was a long time ago
She wants to rest. I want to rest, and even Emmett.
You got the pictures.  You won’t forget
Every now and agin some black boy still gets
drugged behind a car, still gets strung up in a tree
or the roof rafters of a county jail
They still make fans like me
heavy enough to drown boyish devilment.

Published on New Verse News 2005
From the Anthology Mighty Real 2010


I’m pretty cool
In my hunter green
Versace Tux
The life of the party.

While the lettuce
and sprouts wilt
and the tomato festers
I perk up the salad.

I don’t mind shedding
my skin
and getting mashed up
for face creams or soaps.
Slice me and I go humbly
into the bags under your eyes.

But gay men trouble me the most
grasping me hard in the middle
as if I’m jack-off material.
And on their lazy Sundays
introducing me to meet their

From the Anthology Mighty Real

No comments:

Post a Comment