A Midsummer's Night
The north side of St. Louis
Like its sister across the river;
Boggy-city of the Mississippi
Is kinking in the fervid scorch
Of the city’s night.
There’re black youths on-a window pose,
Leaning against doors, kicking up and
Down the stained pavement, and
Propped against walls.
Some, their alcoholic bodies that
Two hours ago were hip-hop rapping
To the beat of human sweat and heat
Collected with cigarette smoke against
The dance hall’s ceiling sways or stagger
To reestablish their balance.
I wonder if in this wack-crack water night
If there will come disagreement when liquor
Speak and releases the hidden beast that poverty
Birth in the poor, the repressed, the thrown away,
The discontented young blacks who through the boiling
Day air held their tongues against emptiness
Packed so thick within them as to hiss from
The pores of their skin, like air forced out
From the corners of our eyes, or, will they remain
Suffocating in the dried red-brick powder air
Like the aged ones locked inside these heat packed
Homes, where plaster falls from the walls
To expose the fragile wooden ribs
And wounded hearts,
Cell by cell wasting apart.