Monday, July 14, 2003


In Akron Ohio most folks nod
say hey good morning
how you all right

Colored folks specifically
the old folks cranky Aunt Ruth
high high yella Miss Averett my
grandma fifteen years

In Akron Ohio you gotta be
ignorant passing or dead
to walk by a brother
or sister on the corner
without head tilting recognition
our common condition

When I go back to visit
I train myself out of Boston bad
habits and foolish ways.
I practice smiling
to my image in the mirror
say yes ma’am no sir fine and thank you

I take perverse pleasure in forcing
New England Negroes to contact
my eyes to fashion a greeting
older than all say hey good morning
all right
how you?

I’m not homesick for Akron
or Cleveland or any of those
places where black people pool
and reflect

congregate in numbers large enough
to change the air’s complexion
I long for the remembering forced by
circumstance to tolerate each the other
driven by forlorn courtesy to say hey.

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