by Anastacia-Reneé

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.

we negros walk the path of self enlightenment
sweaty-holding brick light bulbs
with tiny watching white men as switch
                  on                    off
let them mark us in the day
with this thing & that thing
& this is what i mean to say when i say negro
say negro as in not black
but not human
& this is what i mean to say when i say nigger
as in not black & not human
& this is what i mean when i say walk the path
for the path is not a path
but a thorny renditition of woodsy

what i mean to say is we walk it
while running with out cerebellum shoes untied
as in we do not take heed
on                    off
we do not listen to what we are hearing (on the flipside)
as in do you hear me
as in are you listening
as in if you call upon me i will tell you my story
as in my story could be your story
if you only read what i was (not) about
but you as in your generation do not read anymore
your lifes s(spores) germinated atop links
& htmls & videos & i mean to say
i am not judging you but i am

& i wonder fellow children of my alphabet fucking
if you really miss me the way you say you do
if you really hold me in high esteem
on                    off
the way you do your coveted internet
if you would snatch me from a burning building
or watch my baldwin burn there
on your minimalist couch

 

Poem copyright 2018 by Anastacia-Reneé. All rights reserved.

&
See more poems from Anastacia-Reneé debuted on The Fight & The Fiddle:
on being free and The Mother Ship is Purple


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Writing Prompt

by Anastacia-Reneé

you want to tell all your people the mother ship is swooping
that she landed on top of a red mountain of vegan gravy
that she is dripping in beggary saying sop me up sop me up
you want to drag them by their anxious hands & say ya’ll
our time has come. look up yonder. & you want yonder to be
a 60 degree place of no wanting — as if the yonder knows
<                   what you need                    >
& what you need is a land with no white cops dangling
pavlov fingers or pow-powing guns as synonym for
the truth the light & the way to kill a nigga
want to tell your people to gallop to the mother ship
like giraffes or gazelles or goliath — goodtimes, we
finally got a piece of the pie eye     eye     eye     eyeeee
                         run ____________ run.

 

Poem copyright 2018 by Anastacia-Reneé. All rights reserved.

&amp;
See more poems from Anastacia-Reneé debuted on The Fight & The Fiddle: Conversation with Baldwin and on being free


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Writing Prompt

by Anastacia-Reneé

the eagle flies by
& you wonder
what it might
feel like
to be so free
so american
so present
how it can
dive right down
right in
right by
(pain)
as if
it were
a regular sky

 

Poem copyright 2018 by Anastacia-Reneé. All rights reserved.

&amp;
See two more poems from Anastacia-Reneé debuted on The Fight & The Fiddle:
Conversation with Baldwin and The Mother Ship is Purple


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Writing Prompt

by Yusef Komunyakaa

When I first went down South
I heard folks humming “Dixie,”
half lost in Tin Pan Alley.
Back then I’d tap the root
of a feeling, turn it over
& jot an X on the devil’s
left foot to hoodwink
phantoms in cobalt ash.

Yeah, I was only a boy
from a company town,
one side of my street
brown-jug square dance
& the other side jitterbug,
but as I rocked on my heels
a brand new healing song
sprung outta night’s clay.

When I came back to town
I said to cousin Bright One,
Why are these outlaw drugs
on every neon corner?
With hands on wide hips,
she gazed up at noon, grinned,
& said, Brother Man, don’t you
know who runs the jolly boats
& twin-engine planes, who lives
in a gated cabal of plush green
lawns once big fields of soybean
& corn or landing circles for UFOs
decades ago? Can’t you taste war
in the water, in burning air? Yeah,
you must follow me back to what’s
rooted in black soil along a creek
where you can conjure a cutting
hoorah of birds singing baritone.

Yesterday I took an evening walk
along the West Highway bike path
overlooking the Hudson, as her torch
brightened the city’s mood swing,
& I said, What’s a damn heel spur
anyway? Is it stony, does it work
into a man’s brain? I know my feet
still remember the weeds & gravel
of country roads. My left leg is good,
but the spring of others undercut
my pace, & I think there should be
a real sharp pain in my right foot.

Yeah, I say, “Stars Fell On Alabama”
last night & slew the judge who rode
his horse Sassy to the poll, & dammit
I feel like laughing up a fury,
eating a bowl of blackberries.

Poem copyright 2018 by Yusef Komunyakaa. All rights reserved.

&amp;
See more poems from Yusef Komunyakaa debuted on The Fight & The Fiddle: The Mountain


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Writing Prompt

The Mountain

In the hard, unwavering mountain
light, black flags huddle at the foot of the mountain.

Hours are days & nights, a ragged map
of hungry faces trapped on the mountain.

But silence swears help is on its way,
formations rolling toward the mountain.

Blood of the sacred yew & stud goat
beg repose midpoint of the mountain

& prayers rise in August’s predawn gruff.
Artillery halts at the foot of the mountain.

Help is on its way, but don’t question
the music burning toward the mountain.

Infidels size up their easy targets, flying
skull & bone as villainy scales the mountain.

It could be a beautiful day but black flags
throng around the base of the mountain.

The red-wing kite has come to pinpoint
a medieval hour, circling the mountain.

Men & women change into garments of rebirth
lost in the double shadow of the mountain,

& a ghost of gunmetal drones overhead
& slowly turns, translating the mountain,

then stops midair, before drumming down
the black flags at the foot of the mountain.

 

 

Poem copyright 2018 by Yusef Komunyakaa. All rights reserved.

&amp;
See more poems from Yusef Komunyakaa debuted on The Fight & The Fiddle:
The Last Bohemian of Avenue A (Excerpt)


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Writing Prompt

by Patricia Smith

6.Fiddle6

Blue lash had taught my back the wound. You see,
however, what becomes of one who heals.
A man must learn to skillfully conceal,
and then command, his scars. I disagree
with those who say the night mines deep, that we
are shattered still by yesterday’s ordeal.
When trickster gods commanded me to “Kneel!”
they never heard me hiss the pedigree
that’s brought me to this day—this straightened back,
this silken tie, this collar pressed, these eyes
refusing to relent or guarantee
the lens a pliant soul. Perhaps I lack
a name that’s truly mine, not bastardized.
But reverie is salve. I named me free.

 

 

 

Poem copyright 2017 by Patricia Smith. Photograph courtesy Smith-DeSilva collection.
All rights reserved.

&amp;
See more poems from this series debuted on The Fight & The Fiddle: What Breath Gives Back #3, #8, #19


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Writing Prompt

by Patricia Smith

Fiddle1919.

Behind the flash, he seems somewhat possessed
by what my stare can do. He’s not exactly sure
if I’m a child—a gangly immature
rapscallion in a disarming dress—
or if my luminescent gaze suggests
perfumed acknowledgment. I can endure
his ill-considered hope, because the cure
is history. My murdered mother rests
in me, aflame and flailing still, her grand
and muscled body hitched to labor. Saint
Domingue’s copper slap still simmers, sears
her thirsty skin, then mine—bodacious and
bedamned, she thrashes through me. Her restraint
is why I smolder. Murderous. Austere.

 

 

 

Poem copyright 2017 by Patricia Smith. Photograph courtesy Smith-DeSilva collection.
All rights reserved.

&amp;
See more poems from this series debuted on The Fight & The Fiddle: What Breath Gives Back #3, #6, #8


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Writing Prompt