David Alabo

the gaze is upon me

and I am all petri dish specimen

to be inspected

and made spectacle of

I am ancient skin under modern scanner

my flesh folding in forested mystique

beneath foreboding eye

baobab tree trunk

trumping your dry season

with hidden waters

so in this age of

modern wasteland and urban decay

you know not from whence comes this flow

…nor how deep runs this well…

didn’t I tell you I’ve known rivers?

perhaps you weren’t listening

too busy watching

for how star shine crept through me

it leaked from every crevice

poured through every pore

but you only noticed it in my teeth

from minstrel grin to platinum grill

or in the tapping of my feet

yes I’ve been dancing man, laughing man

have gyrated hip like knee jerk reaction

made snake of my spine and slithered

out of the confines of narrowed lenses

too slender to properly render the expanse

of my being, your scope too micro to hold

the infinity within my frame

your cameras have never been able to capture me

too much Africa for your aperture

too much astral for your projection

of black face upon me

my skin, as dark and vast

as the canvas of night itself

so yes, paint me in broad strokes

of your blurred perception

your star-crossed eyes

too riddled in fear-fueled awe

to notice the details of my composition

i wax precise as lines on vinyl when I shine

wane nebulous on the clouded

vision of unfit eyes

my rhyme arching back to a time

before invasive eyes knew me

so the flow be whirling dervish

to make my space a little more Rumi

and them ancient rivers swirl within

until my purpose consumes me

I’ll till the muddled soil of my past

until my present blooms me

when the woes of the world had me beat

i got down to it and made a song

my serpentine sounds slithered out my mouth

until the whole world sang along

I have always been the black

I have always been the night

I birthed the stars

and I can swallow them


last poem from my second book of poetry, Sleeper Cell

The Ellisonian Basement is a collection of my writings on Blackness & visibility in the post-modern world, OR Duboisian double consciousness under surveillance.

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