Thursday, November 27, 2008

For Cheb Khaled

"White folks seemed always to expect you to know those things which they'd done everything they could think of to prevent you from knowing." --Ralph Ellison

For Cheb Khaleb
I've lost my teenager,
his bouncing strut disappeared.

I weigh 375 now.
My 39-year-old maid died
while sound-proofing my bedroom.

The priest next door inflicts on me
the cries of his wives as he beats them
until I drop to my knees begging
for new ideas.
Then I weep until sleep claims me.

I'm trapped in this inherited mansion.
I've lost my carefree teenaged dancer.
Too much Cuban ex drove him
from me to nowhere.
I replaced him with titanium gates.

I built a super-computer to track
the slow death of my self-made father,
self-made with help from my mother.

My teenager won't answer my calls;
skin cancer ate my father's face
while doctors swore things were fine.

My titanium gates have since rusted,
but I still can't see through them
and my teenager took my maps.

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