Monday, 27 February 2017

A poem by Ben Kingsley

I Am

I am the black             and white        and red all over S&M priestess
howling           like biblical Wisdom
for Solomon’s sky-shattering             discernment from every street
corner. Peeling            apart this electronic newspaper          licking dark
wires fired       and my hair is kindling that I             break off to     ignite
our arguments that smell        so solipsistic    because I cannot
pluck off my nose       so you can smell         what I have smelled
or dip my kingfisher’s beak    into the eyes of a thousand    lidless
little stories: goldfish              heads who have no voice        yet I know some cry
for: “Tyrannicide!”      I get it. We’re both     rocking            down the back of every
blue donkey,   dancing down the trunk          of every claret-red       elephant,
sucking            the shaft of a thousand            golden trumpets, and was it Uncle
Calvin who said that   on Jesus’ thigh a name is        tattooed that no one
knows but Himself?
            Revelation I am.
Telling my children    about Rumpelstiltskin’s scalp             bought and sold
and thrown      from the spread corollas of     my finger tips so that the child
on my lap can              imagine          what I used to, as I read to him even if only
for a little while, for ahead there is grief        and great trials. He doesn’t
need to know about     blood   swirling in a wine-dark scrim             shanked
from a fleeing Arab’s side because for now               I am
the pink mist   sprayed on a table       collected          in pouches methamphetamines
wailing to be               snorted so I can soar through your     lymph nodes and remind
you that when you were six    years old there were only two             women you
loved your       mother and your mother and your mother—and—
my fear is
            not that I Am
failing at anything. but rather             succeeding at those things      which do not really matter.

Ben Kingsley is best known for his Academy Award winning role as Mahatma Ghandi. This Ben is a touch less famous. He hasn't acted since a third grade debut as the undertaker in Music Man. Currently, he is a Michener Fellow, VONA: Voices of our Nation Scholar, and belongs to the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans in New York. He holds an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Most recently his work has been published in Prairie Schooner and Diverse Voices Quarterly.

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