Vernacular Owl

By Thomas Sayers Ellis


                               for Amiri Baraka

   Old Ark,
how funky it was, all those animals, two of every kind,
and all that waste, the human shit somebody had to clean up.
Somebody, some love you hugged before fear,
the fear of an in-sani-nation, the No Blues, ruined your bowels.
Go devil.
Public programs
like
Race.
Dems a Repub
of Dumpster Molesters,
Congressional
whole-part bidders on your ugliest clown.
Left wing, right,
the missing moderates
of flightless fight.
Private
like
the Runs.
God evil.
Somebody had to clean that shit up.
Somebody, some love who raised you, wise.
Feathered razors for eyebrows,
alto,
tenor.
Wasn’t no branch.
Some
say
a tree,
not
for rest either.
For change.
                        When was we a wild life,
                                                                      long-eared
                                                              and short. Prey,
                                                             some prayed for
                                                        the flood. And were
                                                                              struck by floating,
                                                          corporate quintets
                                                        of Rocks and Roths,
                                                        assets bond Prestige.

First 
Organizer
ever
called a
Nigga,
            Noah,
but not
the last
Occupier of Ararat
 ... got thick
on
Genesis
and electric cello, cell-phone-shaped UFOs
fueled by
the damp, murdered clay
of divinity-based
Racial
Mountain
Dirt.
          Somebody had to clean that shit up.
Some native body,
beside the smooth water,
  like a
brook

             Gwen say,
“I had to kick their law into their teeth in order to save them.”

Chaser if
you straight.

Ark Old
Ark New
Ark Now


Only                                  Only
    Sidney P                           Simple JessB
would                                would
____ Spencer T              ____ Dizzy G
to turn                               to accent
the dinner                         the p’s
cheek.                                not the “ ... nuts.”


Change the record, Record Changer.
Name
Change
the changing same.

                                         Something only you could Art Messenger
    & dig in any chord.
High water, like the woods of secrecy,
always a trail a ways a coming.
God evil.
Move the “d.”
Go devil.
   The Mosque watchers know.
Also de wind, de wind
and de Word, spoken and written,
hidden in love
with the intestines
of  Testament.
   Eyes like
   a woman’s fist,
her hard facts — not the crying,
domestic consonants
   “of non being.”
Soprano,
piano,
or the cultural cowardice
         of class,
in any chord
of standardized “sheeit” music, lowcoup risks slit.
   Though flawed, too,
by penetrable flesh,
some blue kind.
   Unlike
  a pretty shield,
loaded free.

                                    Wasn’t just Winter                                                                                       
                                         or lonely. Those.                                                                                      
                                  Wasn’t just Sundays                                                                                       
                          the living did not return.                                                                                      

   Crouch if you a bum or one of  Mumbo Jumbo’s reckless,
poisonous reeds. A neck crow man ser vant n
   a jes’ grew suit.
Us am,
an unfit
second
Constitution.
   Us am, an ambulance full of ...
broke-down,
as round as we bald.
   Obeying
hawkish
eagles.

                    Why the young Brothers so big, what they eatin’,
why they blow up like that, gotta wear big white tees, gotta wear white-
skin sheets, like maggots, like lard, the domestic oil of death and klan
sweat, who blew them up, doctored, who pickin’ them off like dark
cotton, make them make themselves a fashion of profitable, soft
muscular bales, somebody got to clean this shit up.

    All us, us animals,
on one floating stage
we knew
was a toilet,
the third oldest in the nation, unreserved.
Wasn’t no bank
or branch.
   Yes we Vatican, despite Alighieri’s medium rare, rate of interest.
It
was
confirmation.
  Some say
black fire
wood.
    Some love that changed our screaming
    Atlantic bottoms
when all we
    could be
was thin olive sticks
with battered whore-ti-cultural beaks, and eastern screech.

                      Flushed, too, every time the Yew Norker
or one of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s traitorous X Jedi Clampett hillbillies
fresh prince’d us    ...    

The real religion,
our “individual expressiveness”
   wasn’t dehuman-u-factured
by a Greek HAARP
        in a Roman uni-dot-gov-versity.
Where we Away
our Steel, “flood”
   means “flow.”
Where we Tenure
our Ammo, “podium”
   means “drum.”

Flood,
flow.
Podium,
drum.
Flood,
drum.
Podium,
flow.
Drum,
podium.
Flood,
flow.

  Used to be a whole lot of chalk around the Ark,
then anger, then angels, their wings made of fried white dust,
fallen from when the board of knowledge was public and named
after a stranger or rich crook, an anti-in immigrant-can’tameter
stretched across the teepee-skin, chairs of class

where we clapped
    the erasers,
fifty snows old,
    like we were
    the first Abraham,
where we clapped
    the Race Erasers
    and drove away
    from K  James V and K Leo PB
    in shiny Lincolns,
    sprinkling holy sheeple from the sky,
    their
    powdery
    absolute
Rule.
    Just add oil-water.
    Belongs
    to humanity.
    Just add sugar-rubber.
    Belongs
    to civilization.
    Gold.
    Days.
    Nights.
    Ounces.
    A forty.
    Mules move.
    A forty.
    Move.
    Move.
    Move
    mule.
Whatchamacall “how we here,” and get no response ... how
we ... where we fear, how we hear how we sound and how sometimes
time is some even our own sound fears us, and remembers the first us,
confronting Columbus with thunderbolts,  when “was-we” not good-
citizen sober, “was-we”voting and drowning,  and rotting like “we-was” 
the armed guts of our young?

Now a daze,
tribe-be-known,
the devil
the best historian we got.
Anyhow.

 

Source: Poetry (July/August 2014).

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Poet Thomas Sayers Ellis

Subjects Religion, Christianity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse