Poetry by RYAN KOCHBERG. 

Fossils

You are now (and wow) a fossil
it matters no it does not
Does Not Matter
what complexities were involved
e.g. Narcissus saw his sister in the water (Hyde, 1904: 56)

All history-so-people will do
when after having updug you, fossil
is say that you are a) deadsetdonecold
and b) one thing all told

It is good or bad but it is one there is only space there for the one
then updigging the next fossil
check to see it is dead and name it

You are now (and wow) a fossil
as misunderstood as Narcissus

***

The Fox

“Oh, a dead fox.”
Except for a mobile of flies above it’s head,
all the fox begot was a pool of dried blood
like a scab on the decking
a few feet away from the body.

How did it die?
“Maybe it was attacked by another fox.”
“What, like a fox fight?”
“Maybe it got hit by a car first.”
“No, too much blood.”

I imagine that that little fox had had enough
and, alone in a neat suburb,
had punched out its own throat.
The blood came through all at once
in a red blob.

Even then, Foxy tiptoed out of sight
to rest dignified, where we found it,
in the corner of the garden.
Of course, I imagined that its death was not inevitable.

***

The Very Best of James Baldwin 

Baldwin, you reached me
better on tape than on the page
where I could not hear you,
could not hear your voice, that is.
Your sing-speak, the preacher’s patter
of Harlem storefront churches,
made me rock and roll in my seat, clap and beam
like an enwondered infant.

You sounded like Maya Angelou and Nina Simone
with your queer emphases
and now-rising now-dying velocities of speech.

Jimmy Baldwin belongs in the register
of the Washington Library of Congress
as much as any Dr. Frank Sinatra.

 

Artwork: Beaufort Delaney – James Baldwin (1965)