Fayre Gabbro, The Woman In The Sun

i was twice a coke bottle in a catcall
but mama once called me an obelisk
and i liked that / a column of stardust
or wanderlust as solarflare / a radiating
sapience from when Self straddles
the world dark & holy / the flame
in my shadow with its memory of feathers
my cadence of breath (in or out) a black
bird as from a poem
like a proper gawlo i am drawn
to innerlights / where i stand my
slender frame forms a squishy tower
of sun but i’ve always been the muse
for the light-flying night moths nicknamed
“queen mother mothra” when love
is in the straightaway / notice now
how the dawn as if sedge surrenders
at my feet—young highness acraga coa:
puddles of silk in my lambent lungs
watch this gracile gargoyle crumble
from the thawing of her curse / broken caw
dispersing into iambic song / nothing
squandered — if i am coarse it’s from
a hoarseness in my perspicacity avoiding
the goetic and its Cimmerian entrapments

i was once a caryatid in vociferous pratfall
bullied into acquiescence within
the odalisque’s amphitheater but
you can not harness dreams carving sunlight
into harems employed then beneath horizon
like tombstones for art & literature’s
decaying gods standing in all eternity
as mortar to your exclusive gaze
my back is a straight edge but i am no
simple ledge of granite / however whoever
first describes me in reckless affection as
a tender tuft of moss or a fawning stalk of ochre
then that such cotton-eyed purveyor / curator
of the butter-sweet myth they have the chance
to win me over — softly / voraciously

as the dreams of surveillance lay dimming
i rise—self-symphonic / black mondo in
unclaimed beauty but wherefore art thou
Liege Ego “Independent & Strong” — otherwise
a Denial of Privilege & Community by any other name
so come hither sweet maiden grass—i as well
surge with regency and deserve many
counterpanes on which to swell & swoon

not just a coke bottle — coquettish
with coqui nesting in my coils
& camellia resting in my hair.

Click here to read upfromsumdirt on the origin of the poem.

Image: photo by freestocks on Unsplash, licensed under CC 2.0.

my Fayre Gabbro series began about 10 years ago as a suite of 6 poems but now number around 35, included in my forthcoming collection, The Second Stop Is Jupiter, due for release fall 2023. inspiration came from the lack of authentic African American fairy tales existing in my youth. African folk tales are abundant — in Africa — but for my Southern-Midwestern upbringing mama often sung field hollers around the house and (as an adult) i simply find “gonna jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton” an inappropriate lullaby to gift as ‘heritage’ to my offspring. American slavery simply did not allow the African to venerate themselves, especially in literature where having a fondness for it could cost you your life. so, unlike the many European-based fairy tales that found their way into mainstream avenues in the 1800s, the vision of the African became a background fetish and not a proper Romanticism as they existed elsewhere in the global west.

enter me, attempting to bite more than i can chew.

my entire aesthetical philosophy for the past 20 years has been “what if my skin had never been banned; what art wouldve/couldve been made, filling in the gaping void of Black Romanticism (beyond entertainment for white audiences)?” so Fayre Gabbro (both a type of cloud and igneous rock) became the vehicle for such exploration, existing in my poems simultaneously in various eras and at various ages. a vehicle which also let me explore my cultural beliefs for an African American matriarchal society. a world in which my 94 year old mama could’ve had the childhood references to imagine herself as being more than a conveyor for the heritages of systemic holocaust.

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