Monday, April 13, 2015

National Poetry Month - 12 of 30


I want to make Chicago the city of Romance
to blast all the working class ennui into today’s
brilliant sunshine. I want to sit in the heat
with a woman and drink from a brown bag
reading passages from Kundera and have folks
say  that crazy New Yorker crosse his legs
like he’s on the Champs Elysees! At first
they will say remove the yellow kerchief
from your head! Shelf your wild colors
and your ridiculous shoe fetish! We are a city
of flat vowels, and chisels and trowels
and it will be the last time I listen
to anyone tell me to play anything
like safe or good sense. I want Milwaukee Avenue
to flow like the Nile – Hyde Park to swagger
like the Left Bank –  if  Englewood doesn’t shimmer
with the same silvery edge as Bushwick,
then I will have failed - when that crazy Brooklyn
Trinidadian gets old I want them to say –
he told us we were beautiful – we told him
we were workers – then we looked at our hands
and touched the faces of those we loved –
and walked into other parts of town and sang

the songs we found there – and believed.

To schedule a reading or an appearance please contact Ofer Ziv at Blue Flower Arts at 845-677-8559 or email

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

National Poetry Month - 7 of 30

What hasn’t met you – Elegba soliloquy 1

I drove the 15 hours to see my daughter born,
to hip her to the wind that that buoys sails
before – presumably – I’d drive back
and give her bridges to cross to get
to me – leave her the map by which she’d find
her father. But instead, I’ve found myself
here, among the flatness and the windsweptness
the bitter cold and the bifurcated city
holding my ear to the ground trying
for a clatter to lease for her first dance.
I’ve thought about being
a father before all this so I’d planned
some things – picked some colors out
and selected some tunes. If I’m real
I’ve always known it’d be a girl
too. You don’t spend your whole
life learning how to shadowbox troubles
to not have all the orishas get together
and dream up one last river for you to cross.
And the girl ain’t the troubles but the orishas
don’t bring you the war without telling
you how to suit up – showing you the armor
And so it is you end up, where you end up.

Call it Chicago this time and call the girl
Freedom, call her Savior, call her She who has been calling
from beyond the guf for many years, she who has
come to your dreams as the lover you couldn’t place,
whose face is always averted, who makes you chase
her in the rain.  So you drive the 13 hours.
From your window you can hear grackles,
cardinals, sparrows quarreling for dominance
over the boulevard’s early Spring offerings and you
want to wake the coughing child and tell her
about the sharp rhythmic claps that call pigeons
to flamenco above Brooklyn rooftops just before
sunrise – if one morning you were broken-hearted
and your woman recently moved out so you climbed
the ladder up through your ceiling and onto your own
roof just before the day breaks rakish into color,
and laid there and cried for the pigeons, the city
the water tanks on the roof tops, the Puertoriqueno
hand claps, like you knew you’d be leaving soon.

I want to tell her what’s in the 15 hours and why her Papa
chose the colors he comes to her in, like it’ll matter
to her. Like she’ll know better what love is, what mine
wants to claim every morning I climb into the dark
and come in search of her.  I hadn’t intended to stay.
I hadn’t intended to shepherd her citizenship of this
place.  I thought I’d teach her the names and spellings
of all the bridges from here to Brooklyn, and how to cross
them in order so she might arrive one day clutching a cigar
in one hand, a machete in the other and my name
like a grip of tulips coming from her throat.

You don’t drive 808 miles alone
without being  transformed, without devising
whole new schemes and reasons for why you’re making
the trip just 2 hours outside your destination.
You’d better if you hope to reach the new place
equipped for the new bullshit
a city tries to learn you while you’re searching
for its dance floors and séances
its Black folk and soul food
its bass and the new basements
you want to blue-light your ribcage

But that’s how you leave a city. Pile a van
high with things given you with kisses,
so high you can’t see out the back window
and take them 13 hours to some place
you won’t be recognized, until a girl comes
screaming into the world and looks immediately
for your chest, who coos into the songs
you’ve been saving for her. Say it like this:
like the old people have told you for years –
what hasn’t met you, hasn’t passed you –
you’ll understand that even as the principle
of the sound coming back around the same
groove of the same turntable whose needle
hiccups imperceptibly at the moment that was once
smooth. You’re grateful for that hitch
in your step, for the thunder of pigeon’s wings
whenever next you get the chance, for the girl
more patient than you with the morning
and the singing and all the telling you keep

dragging her toward.

To schedule a reading or an appearance please contact Ofer Ziv at Blue Flower Arts at 845-677-8559 or email

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

National Poetry Month - 6 of 30

An excerpt from the Elegba interviews – punking the interviewer
And who that cap fit, let dem wear it / I say I throw meh corn, but mih nuh call no fowl…
                                                Bob Marley – Who The Cap Fits

the obvious question is             who
are these questions for              what
do you want to know                and why
if I lit this cigar in here anyway
                        fuck you gon do bout it?

but I ain’t got this far into the under
world and come out fresh steppin’
by askin obvious shit                 you
talk to your maker bout             your
motive.      I’ma tell you like this

rain bout to fall whether or not
you fucks with mud on your shoes
you have to leave your crib
and come to where you can hear
the singing        or you’ll succumb

to the languages                        chiselin holes
in your dome               you can’t just
spit some rum and blood a cock
and beat on a goat skin
and take a bride
and pay a dowry
and build a school
and adopt an orphan
and plant a tree
and hope                                  that’s enough
for all the fucked up prayers you done left whispering
themselves on the bottom of the Atlantic

you gotta work for real
you gotta          get up early
you gotta          confetti your money
you gotta          leave what you know
is sure              and go for the two
in the bush       & the sound of weeping coming from there                             
you gotta ask
these questions from far                        and shit on your own
logic before the answers                       return
you gotta straight           burn a dictionary
and wait for                  darkness to riddle you

you know how many times I been left
for dead, Player?                       You know how
many times you the exact muhafugga

done the leaving?

To schedule a reading or an appearance please contact Ofer Ziv at Blue Flower Arts at 845-677-8559 or email

Saturday, April 04, 2015

National Poetry Month - 3 of 30

excerpt from the Elegba interviews - origins

Nah pop no style, I strickly roots / nah pop no style. I strickly roots…
                                                            Althia & Donna – Uptown Top Ranking

Well see, I stay in the cut                         of my heart
move quick when the position seem      compromised
if you know what I mean. Your people talk
about containing multitudes      I shape
shift.     I carry water,
   sugar in my shirt pockets        I boutonierre
    fresh cut tulips in red
and Black
it’s why the bees and the butterflies stay
 in rotation about me. I cultivate the sweet
I harness the constant sting         folk think
the smooth taste, the hat’s tilted
brim is for flow                        never that -
          it’s so you can’t fully catch the eyes
in my stars – if you know what I mean

folk hear trickster and think
     sleight-of-tongue      think I don’t
     hurt enough                        to want
war                               think
I won’t daybreak out a window
   and blood a nigga by dusk.
      Count the rubies in the dust at the chosen
cock’s neck and tell me what you learn then,
Poet.                 Tell me I don’t bleed
quiet.                Tell me my heart isn’t
already singing from beyond

my body’s grave.

To schedule a reading or an appearance please contact Ofer Ziv at Blue Flower Arts at 845-677-8559 or email