Disarming the (K)Night


"I can sleep through gunfire,"

He said to me one night
Double parked in parking lot
Half past closing time

Darkness bathing our black skin
Like Kin and kiln,
arms all potter hot
Graying Shells fell from his teeth / bitter coins

wishing wells for eyes
with levees,
strong and defiant
He don't cry often, he say
But on our second date
He broke like matchstick
Gasoline gathered at the ducts

He said he's fucked faceless women
From Chicago's streets and back
But never laid naked in their arms
Don't do well with
bare skin and closeness, he apologizes,
Vulnerable don't suit him on weekends
Well me neither

But here we are
In his car Naked -
all our clothes still on

He tell me
Once, a man black as barrel
down his steps
White shirt waving red alert
Moans gathered / waves / cresting
to tide of silver pistol
Brown skin shot gun
fired & died out that night
He tell me,
"His Face still ain't erased
From inside all my quiet place"

say He slept like a baby
But woke checking his own chest for red
he was only 6 then

Black men dressed up in keg powder
No wonder you fight your fire
Anything to keep your ashes distant
Fend your heart Away from flame
You look for love like ice water
So afraid you are, of burning

Chicago done molded all kinds of ammunition into your skin
Hands that hold pistols better than people
Mind / revolver
Won't stop spinning in the dark
Your bark, worse than bite,
tears into self more often than anything
I've seen your skin
In third degree burns and tatters, baby
Nights you believe in your ending more than our begin
What began as safety in a backseat
Has spun into tug of war
Between lover and trigger

Most night He sleep machine gun
Chest whistle ricochet
seduction of wind
I can feel the friction
Through phoneline

He wake up often
Gasp like Lazarus the hour after God happened
Reminds me of
the affair between hunter and prey
The breath before the trigger
Pull back / Pull back
your mask and lay down
That gun metal grin,
I beg of him

He, a survivor in a sea of ghosts and bullet holes
All my friends dead or dead-ended
He say
All my lovers lost or lack luster, baby
Chiraq warzone, Village of pillaged pearls and un holy spirits
Soldiers spit up blood, but head back into battle
don't know no better
Than fighting fire with flame

He say, "I never heard no fairy tales
Bout safeties on the clip/or
/surviving sinking ship/ or
/whipping back into shape
after clawing six feet out of my own grave everday

they call this coffin a bed
But I won't sleep till I'm dead, baby

"You done fell for riddled target and damaged goods,"
He whispers to me, like I wouldn't recognize shattered glass lest it stabbed me,
"All the pistol whipping thumbprints of my hood
Etched like laser in this laugh"

He slumber to the sound of my mumbled poetry
I stay up lately
Writing Down all I can't say
And he sleep
Like he know 'I love you'
Run in these pen and sheets
Since it ain't gave chase in my mouth much yet

"You the only star shooting in my sky that don't leave wounds"
"You the only whistling fire that ain't put me in my tomb, yet"

And I got the audacity to smile back
Convinced for some reason
That my poetry all the war song he need
To put down that gun
and raise white flag
That my love can rub these bullets dull
I tell him,
"turn all that target practice into testimony"
Too often
Men who journey the jungle of
Hyde Park
Are taught
Of bullets and bloodshed
Before believing
their hands were made for destinies far greater than gun smith

"Think of all the men,"
I say,
"Who grazed the floorboards of what God had in store for them
Just before the gun sounded"

Beat the bullets back into Blackness
Dim the barrel down into darkness

Light the flame, unafraid

"You need not be weary
I see spark in you
Your fire ain't synonymous with
your finale"


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