black as the air we breathe

i.

I can’t breathe, he said
knee-to-throat choke-hold
soft-brown-skin reflected in the glint of a pointed badge

protect courage   serve compassion
float under a cloud etched in hate

everything. hurts. water. please.

faces watch the thirst grow desperate
drought tongue motions

mama mama

comfort in the word that created it
incarnated affirmation of life-love-skin-blood     breath
 
mama mama
breathes all in to life 


{Beginning}
sun scorched feet cross the Savannah
mama gives melanin, protection
little seed grows tall
thick-brown-trunk roots 
deep in the womb—soft 
brown earth—mama’s manna
sky drops life-tears 
supple mahogany drinks it all in 
the rain, the sun, the thunder
giving back, always giving back

Amazon mother with the rod upon her back 
up her spine—watches with briny vision 
her beautiful strong-soft growths
uprooted in a flurry of oak-leaves and shoots
force-fed leaden water  
rich dark brick black soiled She
dries hardens crumbles parches desolates
sturdy thorax severed unthinking
cut log fuels voodooed fire 

the infinite voiceless silently implore
no more. please. I can’t breathe.
unmoved hands continue to stifle, extract
the forest becomes desert
every fate-chained green-horned bough disappeared

branches that once bore queer appendage
sow splinters—signpost graves of their own roots
black bronze charred scarred bodies
disappeared.

Their absence suffocates.


numbers dial in a haze of flash
9… 1… 
beyond calculation
back to zero
all knowledge felt 
in the growing space once inhabited 
by imperceptibly rising 
falling soft-brown-lungs breathing in 
atomic 8, the sun, the rain, the thunder
breathing out 
Beauty—life itself 

mama 8 minutes can take it all away
mama 8 trees can take it all away

breath grows faint, voice grows soft
until…  silence 
until


ii

Vilomah. choke-hold distillation of broken order 
Vilomah. the childless mother

Vilomah, mama mother maya murder Marah bitter-mercy
Vilomah, who buries her black-skinned beauties under a flame grown high as Sinai 
charring stone to ash
Vilomah, whose funeral pyre of ruptured rapture floats down the soft-brown Ganges 
choking on its own smoke
Vilomah of the brambled breath and unuttered Thou Shalts
Vilomah of the milk and honey
Vilomah of the Acacia
Vilomah of no-nation

Vilomah Virgin Mary, whose burst aqueducts overrun the barren lands 

Vilomah of Palenque, whose sacrificial babe brews blood for God to suckle on

Vilomah the music-maker, whose flint-fashioned femur flute exhales in pentatonic spirals

Vilomah the pregnant, the perennial
Vilomah always dressed in black

color spectrum, pendulum swing  
ultraviolet blinding-white-light brushfire-ravaged coal

She is all of us, smothered in the absence of our disappeared kin

Her water is breaking—the true flood is come 
to kiss her broken skin and wash away 
once 
for all  
every seed of sin

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