By Sekani Johnson
House of Gold
So ashamed am I of being such an intolerable guest in people’s (now stranger’s?) lives Burrowing into portraits of fatigued specters cold vapors swaying like cacti hovering over chimneys buried in the loamy earth of a dark warren Their bodies shed the lighter gemini and shy into bramble patches at my approach And yet I am still sorrier that they will never see how an ant’s meal of self-esteem can dance with such finesse partnered with brushes of adversity on a canvas of scorched white coal They have deferred their chance to find antonyms for the widths of their tolerance burdening, cracking the frame of rusted photographs that work overtime on recycled punch cards Pity they will ultimately miss the utero slip a cataclysm of patience that beholds this phoenix wearing ribbon wings of excellence A rarity a vivacious delicacy for those starving from wanderlust I doubt they will have learned or rather my pride will go as far as to say I expect they will never learn how to assess such a stone without flawless contours and uncut facets But my relevance knows it can never be as bright as the lightning crack forming tributaries from the first fracture The glow now is soft, soft, a speckled spotlight on 16mm Too dim to even apply for a price
Nothing But Smiles Over Here
I called it “patience” Whatever anger or fury seething in my bowels, riding up the rungs of my sternum, I learned to cough out as noises of bemused distress Or fixing passive stares to the aloof eyes of a boy The world is fair, the world is right this way That caramel skin is too precious to have a wire of silver trace copies of imperfection over it. Having been loaned and grafted from the sweating brows of supposed kings and matriarchs, the torn burlap and rusted chains; and the burnt gunpowder in barrels, steel caches, and embossed pine boxes, and the processes of working on unprocessed hair Regardless, a stray cat too can learn to appreciate fine art Nah, baby boy’s too good for that He has to be He is supposed to be Riding those seconds past his threshold, kneeling in snow at the locked gates of Papa’s mausoleum, kneeling in the snow till the only thing that could have moved that body was Jesus himself Wondering if the dead could see him drowning in the bronze of his ire Telling time by the hands, opened or closed, that found themselves unwanted on the body. Chasms of frustration frosting the memory as teeth settle into eroded grooves, divots on the tongue. Foster homes for the sufficient and canon. Waiting with frantic and awkward splashes, treading in unconscious formality and delicacy Practicing to wait, patiently Yes Sir, Yes Ma’am Yes Sir, Yes Ma’am
Sekani Johnson is off and on again poet from Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Wabash College and uses his writing as a way of exploring identity.