WHO HASN’T BEEN WOKE FROM A VIVID DREAM
I’m on that high-speed bullet train
in LA, the one waiting to be built.
I’ve had a couple of beers
and I’m discussing constitutional law
with an attorney in the pub car.
I’m not gonna lie,
I’m having a hard time.
He’s a dweeb and I don’t
know my amendments.
I say, Solicitor, here’s the pickle,
laid out like The BBQ Man
grillin’ pork bellies and shredding slaw
in honor of the EMT who’s
got nothing but a blank piece of paper
to explain the holes in her chest.
Knock, knock, Louisville,
we’ve got proof that cell phone
videos don’t mean shit.
Here’s the really messed-up part,
I explain: there’s an afflictor,
inexplicably seductive to his klan.
He holds cotillions, manipulates millions,
high fives the King James,
cahoots the Confederate flag.
By now my lawyer man’s in a pant,
dances the hully gully like it’s
the moonwalk and he’s Neil Armstrong,
testifies 45’s not as bad as people think,
slaps a palm against my back, throws
money on the bar, orders another round.
Barrister, I say, as he clinks his highball
glass against my microbrew pint,
you have obviously tuned out
the entire first half of our parley,
as if it was a late-night infomercial
or an encore presentation
of I Am Not Your Negro.
Even though you can’t sleep,
you don’t want to be disturbed.
I’m strolling my neighborhood alone,
masked, responsibly distancing,
my hair a derangement of spontaneously
sprouting coils held back by a twist
of gold lamé, a bit of glitz to add some glam
to my beauty salons are dangerous amalgamation.
Not usually one for neighboring,
I wave at a tween of a girl singing
inside her fenced yard.
She’s wearing fake fur and earmuffs,
even though it’s 70° outside
and I am sweating.
She muffles her song long enough
to shout, Hey Medusa, walks up to the gate,
warns me of miseries I will encounter
if I continue to allow my snake-hair
to slither unchecked, sighting her expertise
of all that transpires inside the Ghost Zone,
one of the video game realms where she,
a cartoon Medusa and her gamer pals hang out.
With a whoosh-bang, her mother
bolts through their screen door,
gives me a look, not quite fear,
but it was close, drags
my Gorgon-stalker inside.
A few blocks later, I lock eyes
with a burley-built man walking
his shih tzu. We approach the sidewalk’s
intersection like gunslingers
at high noon, slowing our pace,
sizing up who will move through
the invisible impasse first.
Upon closer inspection, hulk-man
takes inventory of my hag hair
and the expression that must have been
on my face, thinking about that mother
and her child and at what age
women learn to be afraid,
raises his hands, backs away, surmising,
if he continued to gaze
into my eyes one millisecond longer,
he and his yappy dog would,
no doubt, turn to stone.