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.
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.
We a wild life,
long-eared                                                  
and short. Prey,                                                 
some prayed for                                                  
the flood. And were                                                  
struck by floating,                                  
corporate quintets                                                   
of  Rocks & 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 sheet music, low coup 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-servant n
   a jes’ grew suit.
Us am,
an unfit
second
Constitution.
   Us am, an Af-Am 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,
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 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,” 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, voting and drowning,
and rotting like 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