Black Gentleman

By Rickey Laurentiis Rickey Laurentiis

O fly away home, fly away.
       — Robert Hayden

There are eyes, glasses even, but still he can’t see
     what the world sees seeing him.
They know an image of him they themselves created.
He knows his own: fine-lined from foot to finger,
each limb adjusted, because it’s had to,
    to achieve finally flight — 

                                                          though what’s believed
in him is a flightlessness, a sinking-down,
as any swamp-mess of water I’m always thinking of
might draw down again the washed-up body
of a boy, as any mouth I’ve yearned for would take down,
wrestler-style, the boy’s tongue with its own    ...    

                                                         What an eye can’t imagine
it can’t find: not in blood, swollen in the stiff knees
of a cypress, not definitely in some dreaming man’s dream — 
    Let’s have his nature speak.
What will the incredible night of  him say here, to his thousand
moons, now that he can rise up to any tree, rope or none, but not fear it?

Source: Poetry (July/August 2014).

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2014
 Rickey  Laurentiis

Biography

Rickey Laurentiis is the recipient of a 2013 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity, War & Conflict, Death, Sorrow & Grieving

Poetic Terms Epigraph, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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