For Laini Madhubuti Lee and Reese Scott
everybody needs a tree
rooted deep and dark-grounded, Black
lineage connected joyfully tied to click-song music
opening life’s veins: vision, hearing, defining dances, and heritage.
i, at eighty, seeding the earth out toward eighty-one,
standing here today in this land of white lies,
myth-history, and stolen legacy with a double smile coloring my yellowBlack face
with effect, reinforcement, and sanction of
this sacred sacrament for our children and our people,
the Black tradition confirming love, wholeness,
and unified families: alive, living, continuity.
i am here to state and announce
to my daughters as they jump the broom, touch each other’s hearts, challenge
the ignorance of the commons, church, state, and other people’s gods.
i and we are here infused in the creative language of
gwendolyn brooks, bell hooks, lucille clifton, and keorapetse kgositsile,
the music of ellington, simone, marvin gaye, and nikki mitchell,
the visuals of margaret burroughs, charles white, elizabeth catlett, and radcliffe bailey.
here and now to clear the forest of doubt, ambiguity,
dumbness, triple ignorance with small-think and talk.
i am their tree with branches and leaves reaching for the sun,
i am their rooted african, i am their baba, father, daddy, and first and final yes.
call me when in doubt about the world and words.
i have the answer to all and any who question their precious, precious
coupling into a loving one.
Source: Poetry (April 2023)