Tea with Bojangles

by upfromsumdirt


for fuck’s sake is why you come as did your
elders a century before breaking
bread over caviar and raspberries
reinvisionism is a freedom
if not a luxury, the tongues of your
indignant gods in my painted mouth like
a mud dauber in pink cotton candy
the cursory rhyme of hindsight as if
there was never minstrelism to your
own survival counting syllables in
my memoir as dissertation for a
merit badge; don’t come with cautionary
snarl like simon legree with prosaic
verse mislabeling the nature of my
being – unless first, in equal meter,
you ledger your grandfather’s confessions
working through oppression, crying the blues
did he inherit a ranch? did he beat
a beast? was he beaten by one? how’d he
‘void being eaten (on the face of it)
as you by jim crow’s most ravenous maw?
because in black light i see the burnt cork
staining the collars of hubris while you
click bait for black poets on your work break
yes, we all have our lenses… i prefer
to see forward in time through mine with an
“hitherto-unknown lightness and presence”
paul laurence must be some anathema
to our progeny looking back in woe
with his limericks on twists & twiddles
and lying masks grinnin’ brightly groomed like
mom beck Black Hat, true temple of my familiar.


upfromsumdirt is a poet, visual artist, and a corruptive-influence-wannabe on your children. the poems “just put your lips together and blow” and “pell grant for a space force” appear in the January 2020 collection, Deifying A Total Darkness. “Tea With Bojangles” appears in the upcoming collection, To Emit Teal.
Consider supporting Protean Magazine on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!