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‘Love Is Like a Black, Black Eye’ n ‘Playing in Mud’ poems

By: donnarkevic

Photo by engin akyurt 

Love Is Like a Black, Black Eye

I let the coon dogs get out
When his buddies arrive
No Crown
I do not have a beard to pluck
Owe three payments on his truck
When I go to work, no one asks
What the fuck?
What the fuck?
My Momma done told me
I got three babies
They share a breast
With him
I go shopping I get looks
He say what take so long
Just to get cigarettes
My arm
When I cannot find the ashtray
I am getting better
At finding
The door
Knob, a glass door knob
He found in the barn
From some mansion torn down
He so good at tearing
His hands
Remain unbruised
I forget to polish his boots
My fault
He hides his shotgun
I forgot to buy shells
My ass
In a sling he says
He will buy the goddamn shells
He will hide them, too,
I let the coon dogs get out again
He goes
I go
See, I get better at finding
The police
They have cadaver dogs.
The Colored Bible

In the Colored Bible,
Jesus be a black man.
For certain.
He got no job.
Just traipse around
with his crew.
Living on the bum.
Living on bread, fish,
and wine. Imagine that
brown paper bag
passed around a fire.
He got no place
to rest his head.
Maybe a tree root.

His Daddy dead.
His cousin, John, a con.
His Momma worry,
“What’s gonna happen
to that boy?”

Some woman
outta left field,
she perfumed
his bronze feet,
braided his hair
in cornrows.
And his eyes,
darker than wine,
looked on her
with perfect love.

He never lived
the life of Riley.
He bullwhipped,
spit on, called names
worse than “shit skin.”
His only Passion,
hanging from a tree
between thieves.
Lordy, Jesus be
a black man.
For certain.


Playing in Mud

There is no beach sand in a steel-town.
After rain, we shaped rare urban dirt
into heathen artifacts, letting the sun
fossilize the pieces we dubbed treasure.

If something about getting our hands dirty
seemed God-like, it escaped our imaginations
like smoke from stacks across the Ohio
where our fathers disappeared for life.

Our mothers complained: How-the-hell-
We did not know. No one knew
one day we would get out.

Our children play in sandboxes.
We brush it off their jeans like snow.
When it rains, our children play inside,
refusing to get their shoes muddy.

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