My tears were never mentioned.
Nor were my hungers, fears, courage, or rage
as that epic snort announced
the lightning-shaped desire of the bull
who transformed a cow pink as clouds
into the mother of you, the one whose skin
for two decades would leather around my feet
like “Amens” safeguarding a drunken prophet’s song.
Boots: like twin sentries who never once fell asleep.
You munched dopily on grass the same wondrous
emerald as the eyes of fairies tending every blade,
peering sometimes down tunnels of dreams
at your future existence in corners of my broken world,
sensing yours was a destiny chained to one
madman’s lifelong march against chaos’s tyranny.
Your loyalty locked around my trembling ankles
like enigma stamping shadows on Mona Lisa’s smile.
Boots like the woman whose brilliance lit my soul.
How you bore without complaint the funk
and unkind humidity of my rallying cries storming
the castles of caviar dictators decked out
in the skins of your brothers and uncles,
gurgling the milk of your sister’s mooey virtue,
how you jailed your tongue to indulge my screams,
sacrificed the length of your spine to the tons
of despair and joy that flooded my days.
Boots like my cousins pissing red steam in Syria.
Boots like my heart howling daggers in Missouri.
Boots like my daughter tattooed with grief in Nigeria.
Boots like my lover eating bullets in Ukraine.
On buses from Atlanta and Chicago to Washington D.C.,
on planes from Capetown and Cairo to Oslo,
on camels and horses from Peru and the Sahara
to just outside heaven’s jukebox back door––
you paid for tickets inked with blood and gold,
your proud sheen cracking and brilliant heels breaking
but never doubting (when I so often did) if
the weight of my demeanor deserved such honor.
Boots like sighs and moans crushed into a naked hot heap.
O’ good black boots that tap-danced genius and soul
inside the babel-tower myths of a house painted white,
that ushered tears out of poppy-bright fields
in Afghanistan and the oil-burned sands of Iraq,
boots with bones marched thin by rumors of hope in Tacloban,
boots so good, so noble, so worthy of rest,
how well you wear that legendary shine of bronze
just the way grace, and battlefields, always intended.
by Aberjhani (from New & Selected Poems)
Dec 23, 2012–Sept 8, 2014
The American-born author Aberjhani is a widely-published historian, poet, essayist, fiction writer, journalist, and editor. He is a member of PEN International’s PEN American Center and the Academy of American Poets as well as the founder of Creative Thinkers International. He launched the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance Initiative in 2011 and during the same period introduced netizens to concept of guerrilla decontextualization via a series of essays and website of the same name.
He has authored a dozen books in diverse genres and edited (or sometimes co-edited) the same number. His published works include the Choice Academic Title Award-winning Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, the social media-inspired Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry, the modern classic ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love (a collection of ekphrastic verse featuring art by Luther E. Vann), and the frequently-quoted poetry collection, The River of Winged Dreams.
Among his works as an editor are the Savannah Literary Journal (1994-2001), plus the Civil War Savannah Book Series titles: “Savannah: Immortal City” (2011), and “Savannah: Brokers, Bankers, and Bay Lane-Inside the Slave Trade” (2012). In 2014, Aberjhani was among a limited number of authors invited to publish blogs on LinkedIn. You can learn more about the author at Creative Thinkers International, on Facebook, Twitter, or his personal author website at http://www.author-poet-aberjhani.info/