After Ahmaud Arbery 3.23.20
His arrival here
cut one background
Five hands sprung
from each of his wrists.
I wipe the ashes
off the armoire.
I light a new stick of incense
Morning Star Mellow Pine.
He sits on my sofa
The muscle spasm in his leg
ribbons the room.
From the corner of my eye
slung over a chair back.
His Oral-B toothbrush
Black and White Thinking 6.17.21
At the end of a long day Civil Warrin’,
Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson
sat together in a plush loveseat
and soaked their feet in the same tub of Epsom Salts.
And they murmured, they murmured to each other
and puttied in
and sanded off
and painted over
the great flaw they shared,
that hardy, ubiquitous facade they shared
with every slave holding heart.
My therapist told me,
Black and White thinking
is the first of ten
Growing up privileged and white
in Montgomery meant
there were no Blacks
outside and beyond
my service partition; the solution
to a Confederate calculation--
witness the cleaning gesture
of a brush
that’s filled with paint.
In this stanza a Black person
doesn’t ring me up at Books-A-Million,
doesn’t fry my chicken at the frat house,
doesn’t ladle my gravy into a mountain lake
of mashed potatoes at Memorial Presbyterian Church,
doesn’t dip my cone at Dairy Queen on Atlanta Highway,
doesn’t drain my oil at Jiffy Lube in Bay 3 in Mountain Brook.
Phyllis Wheatley—America’s first
Black poet—was enslaved
by the Wheatley family.
They said she was seven
because of her teeth.
pried her open
to count the empty spaces?
How do you find a diamond ring in the lake?
Start in the middle.
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Hear Tim reading these poems @ 1:04:44