I don’t want to hurt a man, but I like to hear one beg. Two people touch twice a month in ten hotels, and We call it long distance. He holds down one coast. I wander the other like any African American, Africa With its condition and America with its condition And black folk born in this nation content to carry Half of each. I shoulder my share. My man flies To touch me. Sky on our side. Sky above his world I wish to write. Which is where I go wrong. Words Are a sense of sound. I get smart. My mother shakes Her head. My grandmother sighs: He ain’t got no Sense. My grandmother is dead. She lives with me. I hear my mother shake her head over the phone. Somebody cut the cord. We have a long distance Relationship. I lost half of her to a stroke. God gives To each a body. God gives every body its pains. When pain mounts in my body, I try thinking Of my white forefathers who hurt their black bastards Quite legally. I hate to say it, but one pain can ease Another. Doctors rather I take pills. My man wants me To see a doctor. What are you when you leave your man Wanting? What am I now that I think so fondly Of airplanes? What’s my name, whose is it, while we Make love. My lover leaves me with words I wish To write. Flies from one side of a nation to the outside Of our world. I don’t want the world. I only want African sense of American sound. Him. Touching. This body. Aware of its pains. Greetings, Earthlings. My name is Slow And Stumbling. I come from planet Trouble. I am here to love you uncomfortable.
Copyright © 2011 by Jericho Brown. Used with permission of the author.