Savage Inequity

For AV.

Watch the faint haze of morning fog at daybreak
acquiesce to the self-same silence
of sewage dripping from the drain, such superfluous sound
as Mama Earth caterwauls from her grave
unheard. Let no curmudgeon juxtapose
a ripe red rose with the rosy cheeks
of a child in heat, or the metaphor of lovemaking
with fever. Let no mayor gentrify
the streets of East St. Louis, or D.C., or Raleigh
because history is no palindrome and the wealth they build tomorrow
will not serve the starving today. Let no man testify
how indubitably he must shut down the schools
to stop the drug sales in the schoolyard
or checking birth certificate at bathroom stalls
until he has breathed the perfume of perfunctory pollution
and placed leaded water upon his parched tongue
marches to the end of the bus line begging
while his pleas meet the only answer he has ever given
when the poor and the weak stumble at his knees.

Lucy Sings the Blues

For Celena. Always magical.

There was an old courthouse where I slept
on a bench beneath the apple trees
that lined the great stone paths
to meet our king
who sat highest in the court
the Judge of Judges
reporting on the sins of men
and the adulterous women.

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Lloviendo (Raining)

He shivered on the park bench, gripping a folded newspaper to his breast while masses of umbrellas–yellow, white, polka-dotted and rainbow–rushed past him. A little girl in a pink raincoat let go of her mother’s hand and stopped by the bench. She wasn’t scared by his unshaven face, his weathered clothes, his wrinkled hands. Instead she smiled, said, “Here, mister,” and handed him her tiny pink umbrella before her mother pulled her away.