La Negra Nueva
Takes hose to tires old and true,
sprays the oily paint. Spattered
hands, the pride of days
five hundred cycle through.
He’s never missed a day of work
or kept his blue jeans blue.
He blacks, he blacks, he blacks
until what’s used shines slick as new.
All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream. —Edgar Allen Poe
It’s hers now.
With her pit bull sidekick,
arm out the truck,
she’ll take the dem site
pine and carry it home.
The wood has a story
she’ll tell with hammers,
write with sawdust.
The wood has a story.
He’s been at the Dynasty washing cars as long as Solomon Northup
was a slave. Hands soften as they harden,
Jahkil the “Rap Folknowledgist”:
I just took a bus from Florida
to meet my 12-year-old daughter
for the first time.
Who says little girls can’t wear fairy wings
with super-soakers, silence the tall weeds
with pink galoshes, trap sunlight in their curls
when the sun stays out too late?
“I struck out a lot of times, but I hit it a lot of times, too. You ain’t never played no baseball if you’ve never struck out.”
In 1888, her grandfather was a man holding a pencil
imagining a city in little squiggles and lines. “I’m just
so fortunate to be here,” she says at her windowsill.
The asphalt is honest—both straightens and winds.
With sea-weathered hands
He plays his flute for the rapt
“When you were a teenager, what did you think you wanted to be when you grew up?
“I knew what I wanted to be… A classically trained ballet dancer.”