INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
i'm stripping away all the lies before the next millennium:
lies that my father loved me more than his masonic brethren,
lies that he married my mother while she was still a virgin,
lies about blackness, about whiteness, about who i am.
for the lies are like dead weights that pull me down
into the undertow of money, class, culture, race, and class,
distorting my features--the true reflection of my face--
so i've become something subtle and submarine;
but what will happen to me after i've stripped away
all the forms that clothe my mind with order
old ways of thinking about myself--the thusness of reality.
what will i have but this naked, scarred body
that i have so despised, regarded always as other?
facing myself in the silence of unanswerable joy.
to talk about these trees, lakes, rivers
is not to be deaf to all the horrors:
a brother was lynched on this flowering dogwood,
brickell's skyscrapers cataract with ash from rosewood,
the suwannee will never wash away the blood
from these states, and those deserted dirt roads,
inviting as the drawl of southern belles in leon county,
are not as innocent as they seem to be.
yet this river, subversive as its own silt, overruns
its banks, stirs the rank mud, startles spoonbills, herons
and manatees in their own element, accepts complicity--
life feeding on itself--with the yellow pollen of the trees.
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