I don’t want to hurt a man, but I like to hear one beg. Two people touch twice a month in ten hotels, and We call it long distance. He holds down one coast. I wander the other like any African American, Africa With its condition and America with its condition And black folk born in this nation content to carry Half of each. I shoulder my share. My man flies To touch me. Sky on our side. Sky above his world I wish to write. Which is where I go wrong. Words Are a sense of sound. I get smart. My mother shakes Her head. My grandmother sighs: He ain’t got no Sense. My grandmother is dead. She lives with me. I hear my mother shake her head over the phone. Somebody cut the cord. We have a long distance Relationship. I lost half of her to a stroke. God gives To each a body. God gives every body its pains. When pain mounts in my body, I try thinking Of my white forefathers who hurt their black bastards Quite legally. I hate to say it, but one pain can ease Another. Doctors rather I take pills. My man wants me To see a doctor. What are you when you leave your man Wanting? What am I now that I think so fondly Of airplanes? What’s my name, whose is it, while we Make love. My lover leaves me with words I wish To write. Flies from one side of a nation to the outside Of our world. I don’t want the world. I only want African sense of American sound. Him. Touching. This body. Aware of its pains. Greetings, Earthlings. My name is Slow And Stumbling. I come from planet Trouble. I am here to love you uncomfortable.
Copyright © 2011 by Jericho Brown. Used with permission of the author.
Raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Jericho Brown won the 2009 American Book Award for his debut collection Please (New Issues, 2008). He is also the author of The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), which received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.
Date Published: 2011-08-23
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/heart-condition