With A Calendar In Fading Light I Remember Amiri Baraka by Basil Rosa

With A Calendar In Fading Light I Remember Amiri Baraka

If we are bound to each other it’s by a curative grammar. 

For so long I found it easy to be immodestly loud,

quick to react and sure of a certain health and brio. 

I didn’t see that I’d been weaned on queenly lies 

that stated one must primp and aspire to being telegenic enough 

for the canned spectacles that define so much of the slivers 

and shivers of Kulture. 

What has lasted in me changes with the heft of time, 

sparking my willful avoidance of the slattern and betrayals. 

I must accept all pain as part of this unsolvable riddle we inhabit. 

I must value myself if I’m to be of value to others out there 

who’ve forgotten who they are and that they’re not entirely alone. 

I’ve died and returned often with and without angels.

God, friendship and unconditional love. 

I’m now a distant other who remembers everything, 

even the viscous and phlegmy taste of salts and candies 

licked while in my mother’s womb. 

A soft focus close-up of Monarch butterflies 

for this year’s April liberates a latent urge to leave all to serendipity. 

I’m not moved to capture or chase control of time 

so May comes in with measures that lack determinism 

flavored by erotic forms of individuated trust, 

each of my digits, letters and thoughts like tiny keys 

meant to unlock prison doors. 

A blurred leap ahead to November as losses once fawned 

over are erased and crimson my hand-scribbled notations 

defining past engagements, exigencies, obsessions 

and the sway of earth and sea. 

At last, it has ended. Another year. This one. Not like last one.

December with snowfall and stale Christmas jingles

in every market and not enough of a spiritual message 

that again and again I’ve lost and won, 

helps me remember we will live in this form only once 

so best mend fences now, release conscience 

from a few sins and redress some wrongs. 

Sometimes we get lucky and I becomes we 

and all blurs to settle the bones and aches where bruises rise

into cerulean lilacs, and the azure ever natty 

mates wheels to peacock-sunshine hours, and an unmade bed 

opens as a canvas to run toward when it rains. 

I had a query or two for him, formerly Leroi Jones, 

and I’d even read his autobiography, had brought it with me

and asked him to sign it which he did with pleasure 

covering the flyleaf with his large and enthused inscription. 

We then talked of violets to be found in the balding asphalt 

and he said to me think of it all as vermillion and ruby

and treasure and a raison d’etre painting us 

in long blues for blues’ sake. 

How young we were then and how ready.

Basil Rosa also writes as John Michael Flynn. His poetry collections include, Restless Vanishings, and Keepers Meet Questing Eyes, both from Leaf Garden Press. He blogs about different artists and destinations at jmfbr1@blogspot.com

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