Homage [in progress]

Ode to Langston Hughes (the return of the drum)

This rhythm
your vision

to begin again

my umbra

of blue. you told
me, “bear in mind that death
is a drum…calling life to come.”

in the wombiverse
rooted like
thoughts coded in the cord
that is mind, i know i’ve grown,

from a seed
to the soulflower
blooming like “tomorrow bright
before us,” calling

you to me as though a beat beyond life
still you drum the psalms
of faith, hope and love’s azure

on fire burning beneath beautiful
ones not yet born, where age

is embodied in innocence
of the sun kissing the horizon.
but for us to

drum “A World” where everyone is free
seems too perfect a dream for mother earth to conceive
still; birth and its many complications are always rough on

The Word of Bird

for Charlie Parker

as he flew, Bird blew
Trying to play clean, looking
For the pretty notes.

In the voice of the
Coolest breeze, the Apostle
Of Hipness hovers

Like a satellite
In orbit of mother earth
& the universe.

Changing of the Guard

For Amiri Baraka [who passed January 9, 2014]

The ripples of time
& space transbluesent like jazz
Interplay like night

& day, where novas
Explode amidst shadows in
Brilliant bursts of life

That open the doors
To the oneness of two eyes
Observing the light

Refracted by streams
Of consciousness curated
In the margins of

Our minds, left behind
As footnotes to changing times
For us to study.

Song of the Soul (for Nikki Giovanni, Lucille Clifton & Sonia Sanchez)

poetry is the song of the soul
that decodes
the cacophony
of the mind
finding freedom in who we are

& peace in who i am
because to be free
is to think, feel…&act
upon the words that are born
not spoken.

sometimes in the wee small hours of morning
we sit
at the PC or laptop
reeling in spirits, fighting off
demons, weighing & considering
through blood, sweat & years
the past, present & future as one
everchanging poem
in which we try to free
ourselves in the words.
& if i am able to free myself

as i hold
to the here & now, then i have hit all the notes
by playing what’s not there, saying
the very first thing that flows like air
breathed through me into you.

a poem is adrenaline
rushing, blowing the lid
off the poet.
descending into the ear of the reader
as the body leaves imprints of its soul
upon all of us
as its heart pounds like Art Blakey
neverending in its message
“that life is precious.” & our dreams—
like roads for vagabonds, are scribed
in the wandering eyes of our fate, destined
to new directions

of change, which is all
we poets wrapped in our curiosity
want anyway.