Ad Nauseam

by Wanda Coleman

-After Karl Shapiro

My soul stands at the window of my success
And I ten thousand deaths away;
My days are filled with sleep-stealing stress
Salt soaks for feet, a bitter remedy.
Let the planet crack for the waste dead.

My unselfish youth, my books with tattered edge,
knowledge is my gaze down ghetto streets.
Boys who dared the White world’s ledge,
Girls pregnant with a sullen hope, yet sweet.
Let the planet crack for the wasted dead.

My night remains night, my night his day.
So we lie down, part my thighs.
The love burns deep, the stars give way.
The come brings down the firmament.
Let the planet crack, for the wasted die.

Grief is now my way of foot of hand of heart.
A gallow’s laughter marks my stride;
My face grown hard like ebony quartz,
My bloodshot eyes at dawn must ride.
Let the planet crack for the wasted dead.

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