Thursday, May 28, 2009

for ishmael reed

for ishmael reed
the shackled black, being torn in innocence
molded his advent through cyclical time
surging, flowing, rising falling time…
from “time & the eagle”
in a dream i beheld an ancient muse
whose eyes were deep like the
world’s great rivers; whose skin, the
blackest black, so like the materia
prima from whence came all
creative & created things, whose
voice did rumble like an ancient
thunder roiling in the bellies of
infinite clouds & standing with
him, another, whose countenance
seemed like that of a man; who
looked a lot like u, ishmael,
namesake of a prophet, who seemed
so full of grace.

the ancient bade u go with me, &
show me every secret thing. u took
me to when life began, when human
spirit lived within the verdant green &
rode time like a pristine river; when a
great power ruled, a lord of the sun,
whose name was ra. we stood
there, u & i, in the middle of the air, &
his mighty sun boat sail through
that shadowland, watched him stand to
the front of that boat, blazing bright,
hawk-like watching for any sign of
change. u pointed out the powers on
the deck, for ra would never deign

to ride alone. sweet maat, who
always speaks the truth, anubis,
gaunt guardian & guide of the dead
& thrice great thoth among the
many passengers. & then i saw a
curious sight – one who seemed a
man among those gods, who looked
a lot like u, whose shifting visage,
fluid like the season change, transmo-
from human to hawk to jackal to
frightful loup garou more
curious still,
he wore a dark brown
stetson hat on
top of a headdress
black feathers.

he wore twelve inch tall cowboy
boots made of black oiled cowhide
leather with spanish stitching, gray
stressed levis & a long sleeve, solid
red button-down oxford shirt & two
colt single action peacemakers
slung low on his hips. on a snakish
cord with a decorative clasp worn
around his neck hung several packet
kongos, gris gris bags & bones of
ju-ju snake. who was that dog-faced
man, i asked, that hoodoo cowboy
in ra’s boat? u laughed aloud at my
failure to accept the obvious.

it is i, u said, horus-returned. it is u,
the heroic poetic persona. it is every
poet, black & proud; the satirical
prophet, once exiled, now ready to
take on the divided self; chaos,
confusion, storm, wind & rain.
wake up, u said, so u can rock ra’s
boat & purge yrself of conditioning;
wake up so that u might restore yr
mystic vision & yr freedom. i did
wake up, moved from passivity to
agency, stepped up firmly, passed
resolutely into yr neo-hoodoo &
began to truly write.

Joseph McNair; 2009

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