V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




The granddaddy, from Mississippi
red mud, migrated to DC with gospel
and the breeze of Emmett Till’s cry
ringing in his ears like a field holler.

A deep southern drawl, he could
pluck a guitar and keep common time,
sing brackish sorrow in the low note,
make a woman feel like new money.

His father grew up 60s Motown
in Anacostia, rehearsing street corner
harmony, wine bottle in one hand,
reefer in the other as divine muse.

Rhythm was his middle name, he would
croon to chocolate dips on Georgia Ave
until one delivered him a boy, born on a day
Marvin Gaye took his last breath.

Twenty years later this legacy, descendant
from blues and index fingered baselines,
seed of wanna be hipster and dime hustler
has found a music mirroring his heritage.

Sitting next to a wall at the Green Line
metro stop—broken tree branches in hand,
he does a drum roll on five gallon buckets,
beaded cornrows thrashing wildly about.

His unlaced butta Timbs tap the cement
on the first down beat; he bangs the cowbell
not once but twice and begins to howl
in the call and response of his generation.

© by Randall Horton



Contributor's note
Next page
Table of contents
VPR home page

[Best read with browser font preferences set at 12 pt. Times New Roman]