Monday, June 04, 2007


by "OBSIDIAN!!!" [Excerp from "Zen is Now" c. 1990]

my grandfather was a great man
but i didn’t get to know him
baldhead obscured behind apple scented tobacco clouds
eyes telling the story of a lost generation’s negro struggle
“we shall over come…we shall over…”
come with me, grandson, back to the deep woods of the blackberry south
the wide mouth-cooking pan
fried eggs over easy
and the hammering nails into the coffin of a silent black man
the rising choir of a sweaty baptist church
the rickety weather beaten porch
and homemade fishing line snatching perch

centuries old african talmudic legends told
under the pitter patter of a rusty roof made of steel
big black knuckled john henry’s hands
gripping the wide steering wheel
of a truck as it struggles to climb a hill
“over the hills and through the woods…”
i wish i could take a walk down your memory lane
in your unbuffed and tattered boots
“shine, sir?”
“what you call me?”
amazing grace awaiting moses to part the sea
thin, nineteen twenties cotton club mustache shading his lips
untold signs and secret masonic shakes and
grips to dash to pieces the plate
‘cause dinner’s late and he can’t wait
another three-score-and-ten
‘cause hypertension’s setting in
and he’s getting a little thin

my grandfather died with a greasy mechanic’s tool in his hand
and with him all his secrets perished
the mystery of the southern virginia woods
and all the things i could’ve cherished
now, sepia coloured pictures are staring back at me
in snapshot-time-frozen-mirrored-material
of an old negro spiritual
link to my three generation’s separated soul
and at three generations finally fulfilled
i think i know, on this day
what in his own silent brown eyes’ way
my grandfather’s eye were trying to say