Carlton Banks: “Blacks are the racist always thinking about the past is the past I mean my intentions are good why can’t they let it go you know if those people would quit being on Welfare look at Oprah this is A- merica grab those boot straps my Grandfather was an immigrant I don’t see color you know I totally relate to you it’s like I’m black you’re practically white they’re more racist than white people talking about ‘Race’ makes me uncomfortable I need a safe place to say why do you get to say Nigger racism ended in the 60s you know my best friend is laughing you can’t expect much from Black students but you’re articulate & different” My head hurts from trying, I can’t stop trying.
I. The pipes burst open, ventilating their still cold. It’s sleeting injection shivers into our spine. Through the pipping winds opens their mouths & sounds like people eating each other, not so much molars knowing marrow but the full mouth ignoring the other’s screams. At the bottom of the pit; a body with skeletal wings & freezer burned tear ducts. Fallen Luciferian? “Call it a fall, but I jumped. I can’t save you from suicide. You will live forever, even as dust. Suicide is that lover that punches your stomach to feel the knuckle touch spine, & you tremble, quaking down to your knees & your eyes make themselves, letting their veins budge. Suicide gets down there with you, pressing lips to your own & pushing air into you with each pallet tongue stroke… & you ask yourself, has anyone else ever breathed for me? II. Call it a fall, but I jumped. Here you are homunculus with me, with a big soul. Specter & lamp, djinn you disgust me like a cannibal who doesn’t turn his teeth to his tongue first. But if you must disgust, & you must disgust me, speak nothing; hear me. In the quiet moments where you sit at the edge of the bed, & your dizzy with the mourning, no sunlight, & the God you’ve failed will say so with an aura of regret. Your shame hasn’t taught you what you should know.You are here with me, I’m not lying & you’re only mud, nothing will catch your descent. That abandon snake is fish raw scalded of scales , breathing to suffocate a cosmos like a sandstorm gang greened with rot across the surface. The people colonies, they make every planet they lean on sick like the hungrier Siamese. God’s like all parents, always threaten to unmake you but they aren’t good at keeping their word. That’s a word of God. I always saw stars as babies: stirring, crawling , standing, hobbling to decompose. Ha, ha, ha-ha, ha. Welcome, to what is left.” III. The body drops to its knees. The spirit follows: Dear Dear God God please please help help me me to be other the other I have nightmares for a soul. I was crippled with a body paralyzed by fear, when I was just afraid. “Ha ha, ha-ha, ha.”
Randall James Tyrone, exemplar of Black Excellence, he’s a 2015 Tin House Scholar and a Bentley-Buckman Poetry Fellow who’s presented on Race and Writing at both AWP and the Montana book festival. He’s very excited for you.