chasing Baldwin’s ghost, et al

jacklyn janeksela

//arrowroot //
some were pirate ships, most were not
rolling on clever waves like bison over a golden plain
heavy af, formidable, missioned
this was first sight
oracles vibrated on plant energies, on tree bark, on female genitalia
smoke nostrilled in buffalo hoofs
when her womb born an albino
the seeds grew anxious
pellets and bullets carved bodies into canoes
sliced the arrow into slivers of folklore
when Indian met African they tied bones
the hair of any elder stronger than white man’s thread
trek the wood, the grove
they leaving their footprints everywhere, look at the branches even
the clans shrinking and forgetting words
dig deep, water hunters, on the other side sky, on the other side we’ll bleed out into stars
//winter white is always in fashion says all seasonal shoppers//
appearing at the heel of babies
the army marching in the name
of a god that smites the worst sinner
but spares the racist and rapist
they wear their winter white like a banner
across the bodies of non-one percenters
dagger a wager, wager the salary of a boss
feed hundreds of babies, the war shifting from one heel to the next
they white washed yet another
wall painted with black and brown faces
that is not a tear falling from that pale man’s face
it’s a diamond, catch it
it’s a coin, save it
it’s anything he’s tucked away inside his body
like a wallet, like a hoarder, like an addict
the embers of burning look like winter white
babies living all the way over there get zero love
babies living next door presumed to be non-babies
all the non-white babies standing on their tippy toes
wondering what’s next
with protest bottles in their mouths
the heel of a hell that slaps like the coldest, whitest winter ever
//mental texting to the universe & beyond//
me:
why do i have to keep telling y’all
that my bones are your bones
the world:
some of us hear you, but most out here sleeping
the rest
of
the world
quiet
as any cricket
gnawing away
at
the tiniest
tastiest
human
bone
//the water current don’t lie//
if i could paint myself into a Baldwin page
curve around eraser heads & flimsy typewriter ribbons
or the cobblestone street of his Parisian home
a wine stained cigarette filter floating down a drain towards a heart drowned but only a few seconds ago
this rain don’t stop & why should it
while locals make newspaper roofs or couple under awnings
some of us ready for the flood
building bridges from ghost bones

chasing Baldwin’s ghost, et al