Quincy Troupe

On a Sunday; for Amiri Baraka

eye remember seeing the oblong fruit—mango,
papaya—in a photo of a lynched black man’s

head fixed above the exclamation point of his tad-
pole body, swaying easy in a tree in a gentle

breeze, it is summer in my memory, warm,
not yet swelteringly hot in southern steel country

alabama, outside birmingham, where
john coltrane blew hauntingly of four little black girls

blown to smithereens on a sunday, in church,
eye remember hearing too chuck berry playing guitar

on a sunday, in the back seat of his white cadillac car,
driven by his red-haired black wife, cruising st. louis

blues streets, singing, “roll over beethoven,
tell tchaikovsky the news, there’s a new kind

of music called rhythm n blues,” on that sunday
the sky was blue as it was in my memory—

where all things are elusively fixed,
because nothing is ever permanent save change—

cobalt blue, sapphire blue, cerulean blue
when eye saw the lynched man’s head in the photograph

oblique above the exclamation point of his tadpole body,
it was a sapphire blue sunday in the deep freeze

of january, when barack obama
took the oath of office, became the 44th

president of this divided nation in crisis,
the voices of reason thrown out the window

like bath water, soap, an infant in a small plastic tub,
the bawling baby hitting the ground, breath atomized

as vaporizing matter, it was an elegy,
as sunday’s listening to punditry talking

points hitting the fan on tv screens are elegies
leering all over the planet, they’re paid for drivel,

infesting dialogue as they blather like plagues,
prattling disinformation, sluiced through airwaves,

they zap clueless people inside their atomized brains,
glued, as they are, to these talking heads flashing

expensive dental-wear as they natter their shop-worn
words into cameras, connecting them to us

through plasma tv screens, on glory bird sunday’s,
the blues as a way of life everywhere, even on sunday’s

where all things are elusively fixed, even words of sermons,
because nothing is ever permanent save change,

the sky sometimes blue as a sapphire woman
wearing red, her hips moving from side to side, beckoning

with her sensuous, sashaying hips, come to me poppa strut,
seducing where the gospel of sweetness is elusively fixed

inside a church, a juke-joint, the music hot as her allure,
hittin it, layin the mojo down, conjurin up wicked

spirits, as poets raising the roof from its foundation up
into cerulean blue, sapphire blue, cobalt blue air,

preachers running the gospel down on sundays with their
words everywhere, people living inside their memories,

wherever all things are elusively fixed, everywhere
nothing is ever permanent save change change

nothing is ever permanent save change