It’s strange how often
All these years later
I hear this guy
Sprawled big in that way certain
Italian men can be
Cater-corned across from
My solo table in the Boylston St eatery
It was about the game
Games not being of interest to me since, oh,
High school but oh so important to others’ happiness
His team must have won
His full mouth shouted it, his eyes full too
“Some fuckin’ nigga, huh? Huh?
Some fuckin’ nigga!”
His lunch partner kept chewing, listening
But stole a look my way
A little nervous,
Not that he wasn’t pumped about the win
And, after all, it was the late 70s, past the white
Heat of the Panthers or stare downs of everyday
But his eyes’ plea, “Hey Man, there’s a black dude over there!”
Didn’t check his football friend: He was talkin’ about football
And the nigga’s run was amazing –
No doubt cutting right and left, leaping,
Just like this guy’s words
Still leap inside my head
Forty years later.
From an obtuse seat
In a courtyard noteworthy only
For a madness of brick spirals, my
Careless eyes saw twin obsidian ants,
Wedged in tight with some sylph — an
Unknown (past) traveller under pale wings.
The scrambling hourglass backs gave a choice
Of interpretations of their crimped rushing:
That they worked together, one thief, to carry their prey —
That they warred over a find, their jerky
Heaves and lunges tossing them all forward.
I bestirred myself to watch,
Tapped their energy, and saw:
The resistor's plight was clear as the spring light:
by the two —
Security force mixing business-quick
Anger with the blood of dissent.
They spent themselves over the surely hot,
And, one fancies, scandalized brick.
I didn't see them reach any goal —
Some shady grass or something —
But their haste was terrible.
Smoke again. rising like pain
from the cut-hole
Even unknown history
The wiser watch, lips pursed.
No hoses tonight. no dogs.
But hot breath in tear gas across
Restraint is fear. contempt.
Words are bombs.
Under the sunken sickly moon
The short horizon burns
And voices echo.