Ode to the Happy Negro Hugging the Flag in Robert Colescott’s “George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware”

I have waited all my life to find me find you
perched around my black neck in repose

songing of me in repose                   	    your black legs         	
songing of me in repose

your black legs a dangle around me      I have waited
to find you find your black toes  to find them

sundering at the base   your black toes your black toe-
nails hale and bright 	   your black feet a straddle around me

around my black waist a straddle I finding I
was born I was born who operated

in the white was born who was born
who operated in the white chapel

who found your black thighs in repose
songing to each other in repose
                                            	           across

my chest      	    an extended black for blocks
a neighborhood song in repose

your crotch an extended black
at my neck   	  your black groin a straddle

around me in repose 	   what life what
there it is there               I had been looked at

there o lord sucked His black
thorax which spanned as a fracture
                                            spanned as I

who grow up in you there as a fracture find
your black breast o lord quiescing

atop my head your other black
breast o lord hale and bright around me o lord

a pendulum o lord to my black ear
my black ear that finds you songing

of me in repose in your stature
toppling to one side of my one side

find your black shoulders a gaping
around me    	death your body armless

around me    	death none can
skirt it in your mother's way o lord

is finding black  fingers there your black
neck is finding          	  lord is rising past

the cumulus-line an extended black
o lord is an extended black o lord

is thinking of self and thinking of self is
finding you there so that when I entered I entered
                                            	           the pulpit I entered.

More by Anaïs Duplan

from “Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus”

Let us enter this again. In the context of this paragraph,
we are hurtling backward through space, toward a small
opening: I press my hand to your lip and you bite. You bite
my spine. Ben his jawline was stellar. Ben his curlicue.
His cellphone iPhone. His and everyone’s iPhone, in my hand,
on my lap, at the mezzanine. The opera is going full speed.
The soprano arrives to tell Falstaff, to tell him. I fall
from a great height onto a woman’s head. It splits and I
become the split, standing later for a portrait. The hero
of the town walks alone at night, carrying in his eye a single
feather. He wears this feather in his eye as a kind of penance.
For his bravery many men will die for many years to come

Related Poems

Diorama

We went
to watch the hawks

glow their side
of the enclosure

eyes wet from
looking, afterwards

in the museum
park I watched Lou

rub the lit
cigarette into her arm

sun spilling over 
her face, knowing

she was blind
to me sometimes

you can look
and look


the trees the trees the black
and gold glassed-in air, museum
of monkey figurines and butterflies
gallery of important and iridescent
rocks the Jurassic spider the mastodon
marginalized birds of New York City,
taxidermied dove, sparrow & starling


not lifting
a hand to stop her

eyelashes winging
open as she looked

at the scar the eye
of the hawk turning