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Kevin Powell

come sunday

by Kevin Powell

come sunday
this god that goddess
and these ancestors
will knock the earth upside down
and loose the devil from his space shuttle
pop a hole in the boy in the plastic bubble
and dream a heaven
where we won’t have to wait until
the other side of yesterday
to open our judgment letters

lawd knows we ain’t done nothin’ that bad
to be this black and blue
lawd knows that these black, brown, and beige feet
done seen a lot of sundays come and go
lawd knows sunday is the day when
these black, brown, and beige feet
compete
with that death bell banging its head
against the squeals of a new-born baby

come sunday
what will we call this new-born baby?
let us call him ra—god of the sun
let us call her isis—mother of creation and the universe
let us baptize this new-born baby with a red
thunderbolt from shango

come sunday
let us remember this new-born baby when he
becomes tommy, a harlem hiphopper who’s tongue
is an orange-brown razor blade
whose soul is the heated piss on the potholed slab
of st. nicholas avenue

come sunday
let us praise this b-boy
this drug dealer turned junkie
this god-child who is parked, trembling, at an
intersection, eating a chocolate hostess cupcake
the sugar jutting from his wrists
the way blood spewed from jesus’ in that picture

come sunday let us remember
what someone’s grandmother murmured to us:

that that boy they call jesus gonna creep
back like a thief in the night
and he might just be a junkie
with a bottle of liquor
nailed to his fingers….

come sunday
we will look in the mirror and hear venus
bathing that junkie between her legs:
the sugar, the blood, the love
resurrecting the armageddon we missed the
first time

come sunday
we will not ask who that is
who is so unashamed of their nakedness?
come sunday
we will mount duke ellington’s piano
plunk syllables from nina simone’s microphone
trail john coltrane to a pentacostal retreat
memorize aretha franklin’s prescriptions for the soul
and, this time, listen to the smoking gun in tupac shakur’s eyes

come sunday
come sunday
come sunday
we will not ask who that is
because we will know
that in the church
in the mosque
at the shrines
near the altars
inside those roots
behind the wax dripping from that white candle
there is a god
there is a goddess
there is a power
this sunday
that sunday
every sunday
because every day is sunday
and one day
it will come to pass
that the god, the goddess
we’ve been looking for
has been here all along
right over here near our frozen footsteps
and our rubber soles…
come sunday
come sunday
come sunday
come sunday—

July 1998


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