GRIOT

1.

Hope Dies Last. The poster does not lie. 

The Griot will not let you laugh alone.

Everyone is glistening in the dew

Of blue and orange light; the five beside

The bathroom, and the seven at the bar,

Two on the couch, three groups of four,

And me. There is Hope in symmetry. 

2.

The bartender–I think I know her name.

I’m sure it was a name in Arabic

I think

Abeer

Abeer with honey eyes

Now Hear the Drums and Winds and Trumpets Blow!

When Janet, Marvin, and Aretha stare

At all of us, they Stare, and there is 

Hope

For all of us, for there is

Hope. 

3.

She dances, but there’s nothing in her swing.

She grinds, but she’s just scraping in her jeans.

I look around. I don’t see FATIMAH.

I was right. Her name’s Abeer. She has

A baby girl called Amina-Jolene.

Not Fatimah, For that is much too much

For little girls. Just call them Dawn instead.

After the dark, after the end of times,

After the callused city, fall of Rome–

My Griot, I am happy you are Here. 

To a Clean, Well-Lighted Place,

Griot Music Lounge

Detroit

Back to Poetry.

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