Transparent Words - Poetry


Gary Blankenship


Song of Myself #23 - Overseer

Song of Myself #24 - Dance



Song of  Myself #23 – Overseer


23.  the overseer views them from his saddle


Under the glare of a Louisiana sun,

under whip and lash,

from sleepy dawn to tired dusk,

hoes chop and cut and hack


During damp nights and humid days,

I ride up and down long rows

to keep the lazy blacks’ backs bent

to help the young cane survive


With talk of war and secession,

the workers would rather talk

of freedom as if they’re white

than sing of work in the spring cane


Tonight we’ll ride to teach them

hard lessons of black liberty,

but that’s for after the sun sets,

after lunch I’ll cull the wench Cleo


from the gang and practice

my own brand of sugar field

freedom before my afternoon nap




Song of Myself #24 – Dance


a.  The bugle calls in the ballroom,


hounds called to the fox

scent of a runaway in the swamp

trotter and cart to the gate


Michael’s trumpet to judgment

(or if you prefer Morani’s)

procession for a life well danced


to jitter-bug to Dizzy

Charleston to Louie

boogie to Miles and Herb



b.      the gentlemen run for their partners,


attired in the height of the latest

in masculine apparel

based on articles

in Chicago’s Farmer’s Weekly


beaver hats replaced with silk

breeches with long trousers

cutaways with frock coats


our boots

although scraped clean

betray our barnyard origins



c.  the dancers bow to each other


discard the hoops and bustles

soiled petticoats

even bloomers and camisoles


show a little leg

drop a bit of neckline

strap on a Mary Jane


flirt until the farm boys

squeeze too close

and the chaperones

take us back to 1856




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