A Craftsman (2017)

A version of the following response can be found in New Life Quarterly #5 (E.M. Wolfman, Summer 2019).


sounds like

street fights and double dutch

crab legs

clear Jellies

summers in Virginia

the Food Lions, the hot, all-day all-night Baptist churches and dirt roads

and wanting to go home

Virginia. feels like

no home

no father

many mothers

and Stevie Wonder

Salaam Alaikum. I’m home! I’m home.

remember? the Ave, the Masjids, the cycles, the red lines

the red lines

there are no trees on these 

perpendicular roads

no tended lawns, no birds or bay views

only the sound of cars passing, wind off of concrete dwellings, never to return to

visit us

but what could they do without us?

You missed the turn San.

...my bad. Where we going again?

Who loved us more than Baldwin?

Who went so far to find home

To Istanbul. Paris

To confess without dying.

Maybe my mother

I remember my first kiss

to the Queen B

in the back of my ’98

so clean

my momma got me that car

with everything she had

which took me on the road

where i would find (lose her?)

August 2nd 1924, Harlem, New York, big round eyes, broad nose, black lips, soon to be American novelist, playwright, activist, fugitive, citizen unbound, soul brother.

Remember he was human.

Remember he was imperfect.

Remember what we made (but have a future).

With love, Jimmy.

The spirit lives on.


Northern California, 2019