16 April 2012

Happy Birthday Essex

In celebration of the birthday today of the divine Essex Hemphill, a poem perfect for our current economic times. Please note: for the perfect "Hemphillian" reading of this poem, the " - " before the last word should be read as a "Snap!" 

Black Beans

Times are lean,
Pretty Baby,
the beans are burnt
to the bottom
of the battered pot.
Let's make fierce love
on the over-stuffed,
hand-me-down sofa.
We can burn it up, too.
Our hungers
will evaporate like-money.
I smell your lust,
not the pot burnt black
with tonight's meager meal.
So we can't buy flowers
for our table
Our kisses are petals,
our tongues caress the bloom.
Who dares to tell us
we are poor and powerless?
We keep treasure
any king would count as dear.
Come on, Pretty Baby.
Our souls can't be crushed
like cats crossing streets too soon.
Let the beans burn all night long.
Our chipped water glasses are filled
with wine from our loving.
And the burnt black beans-

from Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry (Cleis Press, 2000)

1 comment:

John K said...

Thank you for posting this poem by Essex! A very appropriate way to honor his birthday.