A Portrait of the Artist as Some Brown Girl
In the dream that comes just before waking
Let us untether and keen. Let breath,
heartbeat, let cells, salt, memory rest.
Let us breathe. Let us pass through this
weep, let it pass through us. Let us sieve.
The star apples are what I remember most
Let this head nod mean amen. Let dark
open anew. From un-speak, un-make,
un-hear, and un-know, let us be again,
whet and edge, and see. Let us seam.
On the bus, riders come and go, Hot Cheetos and Mountain Dew, weed and rank B.O. It’s eight in the morning, and you have dissolved into a corner again. Elders in wide brimmed fedoras, Stacy Adams zoot suits, wingtips, sip King Cobra cans, jam to Parliament Funkadelic on their smart phones. They can’t see you head nodding to the beat. You can’t help but love the swagger. You witness, and the city lets you to see joy.
The city hardens you. See the young you, the many ambered versions of you, the soft bourgie white loving white fearing you that could have been, but now you set, in the city that toughens your tongue. You belong here. Yes. You belong here. Yes. In disobedience. Yes. Against disappearing. Yes.
It’s a pity that you’re so pretty, they say. So pretty with that filthy tongue, they say. You could have been a gentlewoman, they say; married well, they say; light-eyed husband, they say; light-skinned sons, they say. And so you light. The match.
“In the dream that comes just before waking,” is from Jaime Jacinto’s poem, “Just Before Waking.”