Saturday, February 14, 2009
89. You woulda been 89. And
you woulda seen last month what I saw.
Sitting amidst those other great Black patriots
from Tuskegee, you woulda seen the
African man, the American man,
the wise family man raise his right hand
and become your Commander-In-Chief.
Oh, I'm sure you were there--
high atop your perch on the other side,
taking in such history. Your other
son fixed your fireplace today.
Lit a raging fire in the room we made your
own. I'm playing Joshua Redman and
Shirley Horn on your stereo.
Just like Mama, your other son
thinks the bass is too loud.
Ever since you left us, seems like
everybody in the spotlight got
pancreatic cancer. Kinda like
when you buy a new car and suddenly
everybody seems to be driving the one you just
bought. I don't need to name names. Some of them
are already with you across the river. Your other son
gave me a Cupid card today. I had to leave
your room, run upstairs.
In a haze, I changed our bed.
Put on the wedding-white,
fit-for-a-king sheets my sister
gave us for Christmas. Suppose
that's what true marriage is:
a psychic commitment to
its utter unbreakability. Can't
hide. It's bout as bad as it's ever been. I'm
sure you'll show me what to do soon. Maybe even show
him. Till then, your sons soldier on, familiar
strangers across a room crowded with rebuke. Wish
I could hear your old wise voice anyway. African
man. American man. Family man. But I can't yet
play back a single video of you to hear it.
Happy birthday, Daddy. You woulda been 89.