RONALDO V. WILSON
12. Lucy: Seeing Myself
What’s easiest for me is being able to look into faces that don’t care.
What shoots from their eyes, brains that flip, emit.
The realization is tied to what makes me beautiful.
If I see my body as one surface, and feel my gut, I think I’m full.
Will I be alert enough to guide myself along the chasm of what I do
to not reject my hair, tired and heavy from the day?
A bee mistook my do for a field of flowers, and chased,
made its way to my face. I felt it needed to sting.
It’s not that I wasn’t uncomfortable with this fact. I just feel soured
by how I interact with others. I feel dark. Just saying.
Sleepy against a wall, I fragment against a mirror, sweating.
When the rain stops, I’m less threatened by my drift—To be social
my elbow doesn’t fold much, nor does my heart. I will not avoid my chin,
sharp against the ledge. The sun rolls around the edge,
like the bulb hopes to spark, or to vaporize substance. Here, I expire—
No, I don’t. I carry a rock, stick or gun. I kick, punch, stab and force.
34. Lucy, Again, Opening
I wonder what it’s like to be brown? In summer,
I lay in the sun until the heat numbs, c’mon,
Sand push back waves, blue open to green.
I’m all here, looking at the fish and nettles.
Sea alive with minnows—jet, long sheets confuse
the gull that spots one of us, slow, shallow, a picking
but I feel various, too, my eyes lap. The white sheet
rears up high and sinks. Plover, dot. Another screech—
This summer, the storms destroyed the coast, and the stairs:
Look, exposed bone. Short run of beach. No quiet stretch,
but the water, and its beat. I don’t want it to crash,
but if it does, I won’t see what’s in front or what’s behind.
46. Lucy Sings
My cough is as dense as the trash that fills the basket, the waste I push
to the side of the road, far from the crows standing thick atop the branch.
I’ve left what I believe on the surface of the grass, underneath
where the wind cuts beneath the trees.
I am no danger. A bottle has fallen into the gutter,
stuck in the rusted grate. Water spouts out disappointment.
To this, I am singing, Oh, Dear Lord. I find the towels, white, stacked high,
left, near the light of the mist on the porch.
I am not surprised that people wave at me as I walk up into the sky
to meet the view.
I am not the horses, not the one that turns and begins to walk towards me,
but I am the sound of the water running below the side of the highway.
So vast is whiteness, my fear, a little, across the sign: FALLING ROCKS.
What if, no warning?
How could I walk, even further, down the road of my endless construction?
I’ve dreamed all my life, and once, in my glory, I was painted on a silver surface.
Even I, a pulse from somewhere else, attached to my fear of seeing another,
unlike me, matter like me, and connected by my knowing, I got this.
48. Lucy, Away
Tonight, my home, a shroud in blackness. My gut breaks down parasites
that ingest what they devour.
I am tired of being surrounded by the noise of their gesticulations. Often,
the sky opens up into a hole beyond the trees
where I share the blues. What I see is the way I saw the black as I asked him:
“Are you normally a late sleeper?” I hated him,
and did not even realize this, but I tried to move, until I fell forward,
spinning: I love my legs, which are long and slender.
I love my height, which leads me to the point where I am
never pulled back. I love the way he wants to please.
The way he looks into the grey matter of my sky,
burning out the faces of some others he recognizes. He likes me.
I know he likes me, but wants not to say what he feels,
like a dealer on a corner, who drops his hands, pounds, or whatever
they say. I say there’s a screen, and I am shooting it through myself,
compressed voice, condensed body reeling against what there is,
a great light which sets above my ground, I look out into
It was a feeling I sensed, someone coming up from behind me,
my skull, hammered open.
52. Lucy, Dissed
I’m far from the water, far from my head, my gray mane
a frizzy whisper (even if under glass) I’d not be labbed.
Still defined by size, though, I’m smaller than the Hottentot,
larger than the other Lucy: she’s the dark, annoying nightmare.
And I walk at a pace that gets me seen. So when I see him,
wet, down the street, in shorts that smell like the river—
No, I’m not a dog, so I can’t smell as deeply—but, he stinks.
His hair, which is not like mine, short and laid to the skull,
holds in his brain. But he’s some like me, a mirror, shot
towards what makes me pretend not to look.
I don’t say “Hi.” In fact, I turn. His brown body is
seared in my white brain. I think he sees the pink inside
of his own lids. It’s cold, but I’m hot to find his eyes,
the lock between my milky blues and his cover. I speed,
passing one to see another—“Hi,” — I say, might as well
be bat sonar, mapping out my blindness. So cool,
I get ignored, and then I hear it: “You got DISSED!”
Did he say that there, rushing up the stairs, a silence,
that mistake, climbing? Up out of what I think is supposed
to be a clear morning, where me, a white greets, maybe
another, at least in likeness, a framed encasing, caught—
I choose to look down: my spider veins, matte.
58. Lucy Vs. Free
I will not pace, because my heart endures, nor will I
be shot in the face after knocking. Big on the couch,
in the night, or drunk driving home, petite, elastic, I.
You’re step is so hard, the floor shakes, I jettison—
Were you me, and I could have been there,
looking away from death. Somewhere, there is a razor
under a tongue, and I’m ready to blow it out, by cheek,
puffed in my house, there is only me, lost in the memory
of what can’t be protected Vs. How I am always read.
I never wondered, was I a site of labor? I admit it.
I was never a missing link, either. Shaking chair,
I am not waiting to do anything but to live, unleash,
as hard as my unraveling is, it’s still a combo, of fear,
and of my hate, slid under the covers, out,
out—As hard as this undoing is, I turn its heft over
to what draws my face to yours, say: “You look, so tired.”
Ronaldo V. Wilson is the author of the cross-genre collection Farther Traveler (Counterpath Press, 2015); Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem Books, 2009), winner of the Asian American Literary Award in Poetry and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry; and Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man (University of Pittsburgh, 2008), winner of the 2007 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Wilson is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Ford Foundation, Kundiman, the National Research Council, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and Yaddo. With poets Dawn Lundy Martin and Duriel E. Harris, Wilson cofounded the performance-based Black Took Collective. Wilson is currently an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and splits his time between Santa Cruz and Long Island, New York.