- Mountain and:, Valentine’s Day and:, Jimmy Ballard
When we drive into the black hillsthey are black because it is nightand dusk has taken the light leftin this final day of winter and splitthe final fight into moans we seeclouds over head and the treespressing into the sky togetherlike an afro on the head of amother whose children have leftthe house. Now there is silenceand a rest that breathes throughmorning and night, sun and go down.
When we come to not saying,or saying not what we meanto say, when we say somethingsimple and sweet, pleasehand me the music of your life,please dance with me, say you,say you love me with your body,or your words. I’ll take anything.I’ll scream with magic. I’ll goto the grocery store and pick upa small bar of chocolate. I’ll sitin the dark under the t.v.’s glowinglight with your leg lapped over mineand say nothing just feeling the heat.
There’s no such thing as a white girl.Race, that brick made by menbuilt no temples, we know, the worldwas never white, we know it’s a construct,an idea, a sticky substance on rat trapslike glue, once my mother put them outand the hairs were stuck to it, a ratis an animal we are not supposed to feelsorry for, but I did. Watching it squirmas I slipped it into a bag from the grocerystore while my mother shrieked.She who had done the deed. There’s no such thingas a black boy. There’s politics and blackhistory month, a man in uniform whoseback is straight like the finger of my sonpointing to the sky. Look. No. Look.That was then and this now. What are roses? [End Page 203] What was her name? I liked her and tooktwo dollars to school. Licked twenty-fiveenvelopes shut. Be mine. Forever,the heart’s candy dusty chalk, my daddybrought my mama a large red encasedplastic heart, the size of it. Each candywas a mystery. What was in the center?There’s no such thing as love. Peoplebelieve what they want. I know betternow. Race is an idea, but a man possessedwith it converts it to instinct. Them lionslook trained but they’re still animals. It’snot about love. And did she love meor love me not? It was Daisy Dukeand Farrah Fawcett on t.v.: Blond hair blueeyes and little black boys finally immigratinginto America by way of integration, by wayof the bus ride to the other side of town.There’s Lady Liberty above us staring intothe ocean while we stand up nextto tiny desk and star spangled bannertired poor and weak across the seawhere slave ships turn to chalk boardmist. We hold hands. She says be mine.Be mine. And our eyes roll back in our heads.Did she love me? or love me not?
When Jimmy Ballard diedHis best friend pulled a stocking capOver his head, and confessed to crimesHe had never done, that’s how deepThe sadness was.
The glory of death is its flashMen stumble in it, black silk flowsThe wind is the ghost of our gripOn the back of the one we’ve lostOur head resting on their shoulder
When a man prays on his kneesEither he’s righteous or thinks he’s notAnd that’s the only way he can get thereThe only thing he can do
I’m lonely for Jimmy to come backThere’s a constant tone in the airLike someone’s tuning this lifeTo another frequency, the seasonHas changed the air pulls up my sleeves
Someone solos on his horn foreverHe won’t take it out of his mouthAnd drums rise underneath,Weapons for the war we...