You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation


                        Ferguson, Missouri, 2014

                       In memoriam— 

Forever here, Mister Dark, and tricking me,
Steaming from a manhole in Missouri
Or else you’re damp between the motions of the trees,
Revealing the breezy discourse of those trees, black
Sound. I can see now how everything
I’ve learned of you is wrong. How an air
Of dumb assumption lounged on my brow,
A liar, winking, claiming a shadow is as empty
As my childhood vision of the falling sun meant emptiness.
But every child knows what moves the wind at night,
Knows what leads some birds to develop their unrest
In the high green of some trees or, lower,
What leans against that tree’s bark: a man? Or is it
The just-barely-intelligible idea of one? Head back,
Maybe eyes closed, moaning, working to hysteria
The erection rising like a haunted chain away from him.
If I move closer, carrying a glass cup? If my mouth
Is that cup? Though I’ve known fear move as bravely
In this world, move like a physical man, it can shoot a boy--
So shoot me. Who said that? Was it really
The black of my tongue? But how could any breed
Of blackness ever wish to be penetrated? I could tell you
How a foot creaks even falling dead
In the night, could tell the red a mother cries
Once she feels that absence drop, like pity, inside her,
But I cannot say what a bullet says as it enters a child’s skin.
But come in. You can enter me, Mister Dark. Let
Tonight be the first night I deeper see the pregnant
Possibilities of your design. How your fingers move
To build such attitudes, turning a moaning of the wind
Into a man, making what is a tease of grass at the heel
Into terror, now pleasure, then back to grass again.
Aren’t you the mirror in which all lights balance?
Aren’t you the line on which all lines cross?
Anything lives in you, so that that dark over there
Can be the dark of Mike Brown, full of breath; that the dark
Right here can be the dark of my own bastard mind;
That this dark come closest to my lips
Is a shadow’s knowledge, full, not ever empty,
Charitable as is wicked, risky as is good; fascination;
Perversion; and I move to it, to you, a shadow-chaser,
Hearing the birds make restlessness in the trees,
Watching the man stroke velvet from his body,
Head still back, maybe eyes parted, singing now—
He’s at that point when I must surrender
My knees to gravity, and, mouth ready, get gone.
I’ll choose what ground I lie on.