Now that my afro’s as big as Shaft’s
I feel a little better about myself.
How it warms my bullet-head in Winter,
black halo, frizzy hat of hair.
Shaft knew what a crown his was,
an orb compared to the bush
on the woman sleeping next to him.
(There was always a woman
sleeping next to him. I keep thinking,
If I’d only talk to strangers. . .
grow a more perfect head of hair.)
His afro was a crown.
Bullet after barreling bullet,
fist-fights & car chases,
three movies & a brief TV series,
never one muffled strand,
never dampened by sweat–
I sweat in even the least heroic of situations.
I’m sure you won’t believe this,
but if a policeman walks behind me, I tremble:
What would Shaft do? What would Shaft do?
Bits of my courage flake away like dandruff.
I’m sweating even as I tell you this,
I’m not cool,
I keep the real me tucked beneath a wig,
I’m a small American frog.
I grow beautiful as the theatre dims.
© Terrance Hayes
SOME OTHER WORKS OF THIS POET:
- “I Pour A Pinch Of Serious Poison For You James”
- The Carpenter Ant
- Ars Poetica with Bacon
- Black Confederate Ghost Story
- Stick Elegy
- “Goddamn, So This Is What It Means To Have A Leader”
- “I Remember My Sister’s Last Hoorah. She Joined The Black”
- “On Some Level, I’m Always Full Of Girl Scout Cookies”
- Arbor For Butch
- What it Look Like