Tenor

After  Jean-Michel Basquiat

Crows
               and more crows.
One crow
               with a rat
                              hanging
               from its beak,
sloppy
               and beautiful.
Another crow
               with its wings
                              plucked
               empty.
I wanted
               so much of today
                              to be peaceful
               but the empty crow
untethers
               something in me: a feral
                              yearning for love
               or a love that is so full
of  power,
               of  tenderness,
                              the words
               fall to their knees
begging for mercy
               like tulips
                              in wind.
I don’t wear the crown
               for the times power
                              has tainted
               my body,
but I can tell the difference
               between giving up
                              and giving in.
If  you can’t, ask the crow
               that watches me
                              through the window,
               laughing as I drink
my third bottle of wine.
Ask the sound
               the tree makes
                              when the crow has grown
               disgusted
with my whining.
After years of repression,
               I can come clean.
                              I was a boy
               with a hole
other boys
               stuffed themselves into.
I have wanted
               nothing to do with blackness
                              or laughter
               or my life.
But about love,
               who owns the right,
                              really? Who owns
               the crow
who loves fresh meat
               or the crow who loves
                              the vibration
               of its own throat?
Everything around me
               is black for its own good,
                              I suppose.
               The widow,
the picture of the boy
               crying on the wall,
                              the mirror
               with its taunting,
the crows
               that belong
                              to their scripture.
Can you imagine
               being so tied to blackness
                              that even your wings
               cannot help you escape?
About my life,
               every needle,
                              a small prayer.
               Every pill, a funeral
hymn.
I wanted the end
               several times
                              but thought,
               Who owns this body, really?
God?
               Dirt?
                              The silly insects
               that will feast
on my decay?
Is it the boy
               who entered first
                              or the boy
               who wanted everything
to last?