- Ode to the #6 Jackson Park Express, and: Uncensored, and: “Caldonia”
Ode to the #6 Jackson Park Express
after Tim Seibles
The fungi express. The unused funk in Bootsy’s bass lines and riffs. Illicit pleasures of what bodies on the south side lust for, blasting from speakerphones: I wish I could give you this feeling; I wish I could give this feeling. The distant stares at the side of your sooty windows that gave me a sweeter scent from the Swisher Sweets and Black & Milds; the musk of all the marauders who rode you in the summer, bullet-eyed and waiting for triggers to clutch. The early morning wake-up calls from the woman in rags, who stood in the front preaching of Jehovah, saying she was a witness to a testament I could not believe in. The tithes and offerings spent on Cheetos and honeybuns, salvation in gyros and baptism in mystic drinks. The seats I gave up to old black women who all reminded me of the women that raised me over dominoes and house music. Thank you for holding my mother and all those other women who worked overtime, how intransigent their bones must have become, fighting the temptation of rest on your hard seats, while clutching their purses, accustomed to the malice of your comfort. Thank you to all the bus drivers who didn’t use their bulletproof plastic doors on 79th [End Page 28] and let on passengers who rode without paying, knowing the heavier toll their bodies carried. Curse the bump of its stop when it ran over the neighbor’s daughter, the mother running to each scattered limb, trying to piece back body parts and how we all watched in melancholic wonder, maybe thinking it was possible. I did not cry that day. I probably wentwith a friend to a corner store and attached my arms to bags of chips, touching and leaving corners that hugged us, feeling like all we’ll ever know is 75th & South Shore Drive. What did we know of death outside the body? Of friendship and how it hangs on the hinges of being lost with someone? Our bus rides, seated in the back with a fear or longing to not be left at the last stop.
for Redd Foxx
Sometimes I dream of a solar eclipse in my eyes I have grown too weary of the naked eye and its weaknesses in the light beyond gentle reflections and their sensitive images there are darker hues sinister colors and obscene visions I want to wield to drink spirits and howl blasphemies to speak ghostly and ghastly rattling god with evocative gestures to lust after saints and turn sacrilegious their divine convictions gospels of loneliness and martyrdom do not bury me gently I do not want to be perfumed and catalogued bones or delivered the denizen’s dozen bouquets of orchids tulips and carnations I want to be a pile of fresh ash to fade into some ominous place I want to breathe in the nauseating scent of holiness curse believers and laugh softly with a sanctified woman in the shadows take me to a sacred rock where I’ll give my testimony about vision and its impaired sightings fragmented scenes and disturbing revelations deliver me from these eyes I want to close them and fold myself in their unreliable darkness and be brushed into locks of wind [End Page 29]
for LaWanda Page
Women are suckers and so are the menwho call them ladies. Some prefer a helping hand going up the stairs or stepping down
some horse-drawn carriage. I prefer the deacon’shand rattling the legs like an usher’s hand on the collection plate at an afternoon service.
And maybe I might cool my lustwith communion vials of wine. Lord, I am not a saint; I want the devil’s heat to stir inside me.
Hell sounds like a lovely placefor unfinished women who wish to reach a different kind of holy ghost, being handled
in devilish ways. Honey, pour me a fifthof 90-proof rum, some firewater for my baptism. I want...