Fred D’Aguiar

Fred D’Aguiar

Walking, Talking Blues

            These are the mornings you dream about. 

            Are they? 

            That name the dead.

            Do they? 

            Dawnings that happen not so much as quiet, unfolding sheets of light, more a step up that punches you in the mouth. 

            Is that so; really so? 

            First, cold hugs you tight, seeps between your shoulders. You walk in a dark you have to trust because you cannot see your feet, and bit by bit that cold lengthens the leash that it leads you by, and you roam, flourish. 

            How can that be; how can it? 

            Everything tilts to the east, including your eyes, and whatever it is that starts in the east, heads westwards, rolls back this thick blanket, spread by last night, rolls it up, in fact, as this latest, newest cover, that weighs no more than your skin, latches to everything. 

            What a strange feeling that must be? Yes? No?  

            Yes and no, both, and then some. For the new day succeeds the old. For the warmth it brings loosens your shoulders; lifts your eyes from your feet. Your stride widens without fear of faltering as dawn soaks through your skin, informs your bone marrow, strikes those strings of your spine so they hum, for so many, too many, black people killed on account of their skin.

Poem read by Fred and Liliana D’Aguiar.

FRED D’AGUIAR’s most recent publications are, Letters to America (Carcanet, 2020) a Poetry Book Society Winter Choice and a memoir, and Year of Plagues (Carcanet, 2021). He teaches at UCLA.