Roger Bonair-Agard

called: Eurydice

(A young Black woman remembers 1870)

 

1.

I do not come  when called

Mostly  I materialize

 

Dark as a kiss

incarnate again

  and again

sometimes twice  in one life

now mother

 now the burnt sugar sweet

of a wide-eyed  wide-hipped

too-young lover

 

now concubine

now priest

 

I do not come

I am called

when the wayward rib

needs me

 

2.

America is a dark continent

1878    exploding

industrializing

all over                        my black behind

 

When I am called

I arrive             black bitch

whore   hard-ass

when I am called

  I run   fugitive

slave-codes       Reconstruction

I’ve incarnated into the open

rotted mouths of my own lovers

just to know   like they know

burnt

swinging

 

3.

I dance in the clearing

I laugh too loud

I give benediction

I show off my knickers

   and smell like funk

   like ragtime

   like fiddle and bucket-bass

I walk the long road North

I come when called

I ghost

I materialize

I moan

I dark continent

            sweating

I incarnate

     then come

 

I high lace collar

   pretending

I don’t shuck and jive

I survive

I nigger               I black

I fuck massa in the barn

I serve tea in the big house

I collect Oscar and whipped back

I exposed super-bowl nipple

I Hottentot

I dark continent

don’t tell me ‘bout Africa

no more

 

Amos and Andy are coming

Toni Morrison is coming

Michael Jackson and Tito Puente are coming

Tuskegee and Kent State are coming

Muhammed Ali is coming

Clarence Thomas and Condoleeza

 

I incarnate  I birth pain

I know the bird

of my next life

            singing

coming

     called

                        mother

  concubine

   songbird

                priest

fuck for love

for power

tomorrow

            I traitor                        conscience

            fading

                           com