I woke up this morning thinking about a poem I had written the last time there was a flood. Last time it was an actual flood. But in any case, later, I emailed CK about poems in connection to this blog. He emailed me back with some old ZC posts that included poems, but along with that, he mentioned the “current” issue. The blog is supposed to be current. The poem I had in mind was old. It was written around the time of Katrina. But I thought, “Well, the ‘current’ thing can be easily manipulated.” Ten minutes later, I ended up reading a news release about Kanye West and GWB.
In a taped interview on NBC’s “Today” show, the often-impulsive rapper told Matt Lauer that he now regrets having said after Hurricane Katrina that Bush “doesn’t care about black people.”
Perfect. I didn’t even have to manipulate anything. It was manipulated for me. And the timing is right. More than ever, there can be but one heavenly reason for things being allowed to be the way they are. So here’s the poem (meant to be recited in a drunken fucked-up fake southern black voice with Beat overtones) I wrote after Katrina:
JAMES JESUS CROW
All serious and shit, this white man in white-face be startin’ his poem out, ‘Watery black eyes blinking back tears beneath the Rapture.’
But don’t listen. Nothin’ he say worth hearin’. Out’a rhythm alliteration or not, nothin’ he say worth hearin’. He say his name be James Jesus Crow, and I say, yeah, and mine be Mother Fucker Theresa.
Same thing. Same minstrel show. Same old white men lost and soulless. So in our ghostliness we reach down for the ashes and smear them back on until it look like we have a face again. But we got no real faces. J.J.C’s face just a shadow of mine and mine only a shadow of black folks’ faces, which my existence mocks mercilessly just like the real Jim Crow characters’, only I can’t help it. Got no real name. Got no hands, and while this white man before you be thinkin’ he got hands, he don’t. He don’t. No hands. No name. Never had no name really, and never will again.
Ein Sof. No name. Only the Devil say different. Only the Devil really have a name, and though he don’t see the Rapture comin’, he see everything else. He even see J.J.’s Jungle Jubilee teeth marks on the lynched bodies. Teeth marks there since those who done the lynchin’ had no hands. Just big wide laughin’ mouths full of teeth. Use ‘em when they see the real Jim Crows up there on stage, actin’ the fool. The Devil see that. Even saw how humankind was a mistake. Knew the leprous white man biggest mistake of all, so he laugh as the tarred brachial arteries of that feathered mushroom in a big Black Lung keeps even the real Christ Jesus from reachin’ down to take just one of those tiny, tiny little black hands before the whole baby go down in the flood so sweet and chariotless.
Jesus. Jesus got no name. He got no real name. Christ would be a real name, but Christ Jesus got no name way before the real first J.B. — James Motherfuckin’ Baldwin – before even he be tellin’ us, and I quote, “to be an Afro-American, or an American black, is to be in the situation, intolerably exaggerated, of all those who have ever found themselves part of a civilization which they could in no wise way honorably defend – which they were compelled, indeed, endlessly to attack and condemn – and who yet spoke out of the most passionate love, hoping to make a kingdom new, to make it honorable and worthy of life,” end quote. No, Jesus got no name before the first real J.B. be tellin’ us that, and before the first real J.B. be tellin’ us he got no name. Afro-American so he got no name. Gay so he got no name. Just like the first J.C. But J.B. would’a been lynched for sayin’ Jesus got no name. Not me. So I say he got no hands neither. Nobody does. Lest you count names like Aldolf, but for sure this good little poetry readin’ white man before you
never had a name like James Jesus Crow, even if he is a fool. He ain’t James Jesus Crow. No, for that gig, he drew a little too much soul from all those over and over Bogey “of all the gin-joint” moments given him to witness first hand, so to speak. So this good little white man readin’ poetry before you know no name Rosa’s bus driver got no name,
and he also know even that man be part of the Rapture in the Parks. “But ain’t that cute,” say the real Devil, even as the surprise come down on him. Ain’t they both cute say the in-the-dark-Devil even as the Rapture swing down, which is really to say the light swing down, and it swings down on everyone, helpin’ even this cute little white man. No doubt he be cryin’, playin’ the fool again as usual, condurin’ up his cute little memetic now, though, and he can mimic all he want. He can cry. He can sympathize himself into a Jim Mor-ee-arty be-a-tific-like glory, but the actual Beatitude somethin’ different, and havin’ no hands, he got no feel for that, and won’t. Like a handless white trumpet player, like whatshisname…Bix Beiderbecke, he could shoot heroin in his veins if he could get a handy black man to tie him up and still he will have no hands, and, therefore, obviously, no fingers to really blow, and no real name. Bix Beiderbecke didn’t even have a real name. All he had was a great fake real name, and even a great fake real name won’t keep the vision of all those drowndin’ black baby’s with real someday trumpet playin’ hands goin’ down as they reach them up to Jesus out of his mind, so imagine what this poor little minstrel showin’ motherfucker before you be seein’ in his.
I don’t know. Maybe once Jesus played. If he had hands, he played, but now, Jesus got no hands. No music. Not even a minstrel show save for the one this one goin’ on before you, so we drown. We all be drownin’ since the nicotine tar so thick in our veins. Souls weighted. Wings weighted, and ones with hands be gone. All of ‘em. Now, with apologies to the second real J.B., even I gotta say Blackness be not proud when what was once no tea party to begin with, ain’t even the Devil’s no tea party no more.
Tars so thick now, if it’s gonna happen, big Black Lung gotta be drained by the Devil’s own pump. I say tars so thick now, if it’s gonna happen, big Black Lung gotta be drained by the Devil’s own pump.
Can’t say for sure, then, but a kind of no name Devil may be about lendin’ a hand, which means we can say things so bad nothin’ else left for him to do, or we can say this is all goin’ the only way it could. This is the aforementioned surprise. Shouldn’t say nothin’. Shouldn’t say nothing. Shouldn’t say nothing, but this is how the kingdom’s made new. Jesus makes all things new by lettin’ them get so bad, even the Devil be changin’ his ways. But naturally, it’s still his new no name big red hand he be lendin’ so what happens is a heaven be upon us that has everyone blowin’ past Gabriel, past all the other handless Archangels, past all of them standin there dumbfoundin’, sayin who these motherfuckers here? Who the hell they think they be, come striden through the streets of heaven with no name? Angels say you may not know who you were, but we know. We know that be Hitler, and Hitler-er, and Hitlerest, and that be the actual man who was on the real stages, playin’ Jim Motherfuckin’ Black-face Crow now walkin’ down our heavenly street like he be Mother Fucker Theresa. Yes, The Angels be pointin’ their real fingers and pointin’ their real fingers until it hits them. Jesus Lord, only way the kingdom made new. This here be the only way the kingdom made new. Nobody be judged cause they didn’t create their evil anymore than they created their fake hands, and now, havin’ shed their skin, they don’t know they ever been those names in the first place, so the truth will out — they nothin’ but Spirit. Always. They always be a pure radiantly glorifyin’, groovin, horn blowin expression of presence. Can’t be nothin’ else, so nothin’ but nothin’ ever be beneath the Rapture that is really like honey in the veins of a flowering mushroom heart center, opening up to Love, one freed-up brachial artery at a time, until the real name of God is not just the only Word but the only Thing that ever was or ever will be.