Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Author Reflects on His 35th Birthday by Ishmael Reed


The Author Reflects on His 35th Birthday

35? I have been looking forward 
To you for many years now 
So much so that 
I feel you and I are old 
Friends and so on this day, 35 
I propose a toast to 
Me and You 
35? From this day on 
I swear before the bountiful 
Osiris that 
If I ever 
If I EVER 
Try to bring out the 
Best in folks again I 
Want somebody to take me 
Outside and kick me up and 
Down the sidewalk or 
Sit me in a corner with a 
Funnel on my head 

Make me as hard as a rock 
35, like the fellow in 
The story about the 
Big one that got away 
Let me laugh my head off 
With Moby Dick as we reminisce 
About them suckers who went 
Down with the Pequod 
35? I ain’t been mean enough 
Make me real real mean 
Mean as old Marie rolling her eyes 
Mean as the town Bessie sings about 
“Where all the birds sing bass” 

35? Make me Tennessee mean 
Cobra mean 
Cuckoo mean 
Injun mean 
Dracula mean 
Beethovenian-brows mean 
Miles Davis mean 
Don’t-offer-assistance-when 
Quicksand-is-tugging-some-poor 
Dope-under-mean 
Pawnbroker mean 
Pharaoh mean 
That’s it, 35 
Make me Pharaoh mean 
Mean as can be 
Mean as the dickens 
Meaner than mean 

When I walk down the street 
I want them to whisper 
There goes Mr. Mean 
“He’s double mean 
He even turned the skeletons 
In his closet out into 
The cold” 

And 35? 
Don’t let me trust anybody 
Over Reed but 
Just in case 
Put a tail on that 
Negro too 

 

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