Mr. Africa Poetry Lounge!

More Than Meat and Raiment

     For Cornelia Spelman and Reginald Gibbons

Perhaps dream figures of fire and wind
Spirit-being gathered up in human being momentarily
More than flesh and flashy garments
More than supper and skin of many colors
More than meat and raiment.

Age, gender, race, hue, aristoi, data to discard
After when and why and wise-identity on earth, momentous momentarily
Who you are is who you are-a-blaze
Inside, a-bloom, a-risen, all the ages
You have ever been remember
All the stories you were ever told
All the stories you ever told
All the songs you ever heard sung
All the songs you could barely hum
All of these winding around inside you
Like a choir of remembrance.

Blood of heritage              blood of spirit
Promise and delay,    clamoring
Stammering child, weeping woman,
Howling, crying man, talking baby,
Blood of heritage,        blood of spirit.

Injuries, slights, neglects, abandonments
Assaults, bruises, all the hurts you have
Endured, survived and did not
But took inside, these are you
As much as the fire leaping up and out
And the wind spinning round, delight, and comfort, succor
And hilarity, a-trembling

Soul-piece, God-lamp, heart pumping red
Blooded blue blood true blood round
Bone of bones, bone of honor, bone of strength,
Backbone connected to the wise head bone connected
Through the body bones to bones all connected
More than themselves

All the feelings felt recur
Course through thoroughfares
Of thought, riding and gently
Twinkling like little lights, strung
Around, around through
Until the mind breaks with love
Or worrisome need, desire is a firework
Opening up this moment into a thousand thousands.

And then more than that or this
More than words or images
An invisible indelible indivisible
Infinite beyond age the numeral
Or gender the sex or wish or race
The wise or myth or class the money or
No money or manners or hue the grades
Of color or aristoi the steps above
Below more than concept or conceit,
Food and clothing, elusive as freedom-need and justice,
Belief or disbelief, the presence of awe,
And awesome, awful and discrete, replete
And contiguous, night and noon at once
And more than anything we can name now or then or
Once, more than meat and raiment, far far
More than,

And then there will be more for you.

Written by Angela Jackson


Mr. Africa Poetry Lounge