Poetry Suite by Robert Lashley

Editor Sam Preminger, Poetry, February 11th, 2019

"Call on your blood, but blood won’t keep you."


Poetry by Robert Lashley

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Homie Didn’t See The Wheel: Diary Of A Set Up.
(I mess with Ezekiel again)

The brat packer’s baggie
is an invisible eclipse,
a bag of invisible spirits,
a tribunal transparent, yet opaque
in drive through corner dope lanes,
a blind god of wilderness
always two feet away
yet perilously
perilously close.

Through its white shadow
(from the face arc of the ground)
the bus stop pole unearths
from the gravel to the sky
and the boot expands
to a dirigible
distances from the corner
to home
become unmeasurable
the slick polo sophomore
is a cruel hipster Solomon
and there is no one to plead
in the gravel.
                       Not mine
                                      that one
 Spread em! Ground! Now!
            Head to your shoulder bone
    In the gravel
    Then your shoulder to your knee bone
    Broke down
    Then your knee to your thigh bone
    Broke together
    Then your knee to your thigh bone
    Broke down
                        Round up
                                      lock down
Up state! Do time! Done time!
(This letter sets forth the full and complete plea offer to your client)
(hereinafter referred to as “your client” or “defendant”),
from the Special Counsel’s Office (hereinafter also referred to as “the Government” or “this Office”).
(hereinafter also referred to as “the Government” or “this Office.” This plea offer expires)
                                                Sons of God, will dead bones live?
                                                Your rattles above the valley lead
                                                to overflows. Breaths, prophesied
                                                by winds of sunken idols are elusive
                                                in the shadow of your weaponries.
                                                Your commands turn to rattlings,
                                                turn to graves yet unopened
                                                as skies and spirits are cracked,
                                                as dead bones become alive
                                                and live bones start dying
                                                in memory’s unrelenting gleam.
                                                The last shall be the first in remembered
                                                fate, the dope baggies’ arc
                                                turned lasting dope trauma dream.
                                                Vision fails amid things unseen
                                                and spirit’s words give no salve.
                                                Bones will inter, but will prayers raise?
                                                Sons of god, will dead bones live?

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To The Proud Boy Cop Who Harasses Me At Freightouse Square

You and I, blood, are both down at the river.
I’ll go, yes, but then they’ll get you.
Your blind god brought my body. Your Caesar
delivered in new codes and old torches that skew
toward oblivion and its sets of convex mirrors.
Your Heaven is a two-headed hydra that spews
blood the deluded mistake for angel dusts.

Call on your blood, but blood won’t keep you.
Call on your rocks, but rocks wont hide you
as you dream of my head for your freedoms,
as you mistake the ropes that your see as robes
dipped in mixture of upturned soils,
as you clean the white linen of second lives
in your mind, (your dream saint exit),
as you dream of Eden’s paved over pasts
under north stars too distant slivers,
as you command to blur all slave and free
while people and cars start to circle
you at my head, in your troll city city sweeps
that break, but can never blow
our shared bones, the interred uniforms
your blind god deemed expendable
and your Caesar made perversely new.
You and I, blood, are both down by that river
I’ll go, yes, but then they’ll get you.

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Landscape With Aunt Virginia, After She Smacked The Shit Out a Nigga For Macking at Women At A Funeral.
(After Antigone’s first monologue)

Here is the comforter
who smacks the comforter
who smacks his lips
at the grieving girl, obvious
from four or fifty pews away.
            If this what the nigga thinking
then we shouldn’t have placed his ass there,
not even asked the nigga to come.
He made his choice to wear them plaid pants, not wash his ass
and slobber on that young girl.
He can be what the fuck he wants away from my babies
but we got to bury this boy, and if he must
come here looking like his Zulu name
is “Kehemet with the fake gold chain neck.”
then I will say this ass whipping is holy.
I shall lie down with the nigga in death
and make him as dear to me
as the porn and the MMA bill he puts in his baby’s name.

            It is the living
not the dead niggas, that make the longest demands, Bobby.
            Niggas die forever
but negroes do as they like
as the laws of god or love mean nothing to them.
in the scope of them getting some shit.

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Swanky Value Village Love Poem.

Old Jackets don’t fit, love. (but did they ever?)
Insignias and hats fade in the discount Judgements
of cyclical racks. Jerseys and spanks
contract arbitrarily, and scarfs hollow
without the heads that gave them meaning.
Age and price may dictate our shape,
but wherever you are is the boulevard.
My dear around-the-way girl,
dance with me by sale colors
time may erase all style to memory,
but the intercom is playing our song.

Outside us, rich scavengers
seek the trap, but not the twitch,
the thing without the something
that lingers beyond time.
(Ignore them and take my arms.
Sanity is a struggle for reliable forms
In our spaces sold as trauma and stupor.)

Let me adorn you a crown of price check rosaries.
Let my love be the alms that never signal
for without you, hoop hearings are just metal,
extensions just threads away from their orbit,
away from their center and star
so seek the reframe of an old globe
in the feeling of my hand.
Let them price to infinity
the posters and memories
that draped our departed walls.
Let them splice the hood
to the meridians of invisibility.
In my arms, you are never gone.
Take what is left in me,
take what you need
to go on if you can’t go home

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Header image courtesy of Kehinde Wiley. To view his artist feature, go here.

robert lashley poet writer2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and nominee for a Stranger Genius Award, Robert Lashley has had poems published in such journals as Feminete, Seattle Review of Books, NAILED, Gramma, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and The Cascadia Review. His work was also featured in Many Trails to the Summit , an anthology of Northwest form and lyric poetry, and It Was Written, an anthology of poetry inspired by hip hop. His full-length books include THE HOMEBOY SONGS (Small Doggies Press, 2014) and UP SOUTH (Small Doggies Press, 2017).




Sam Preminger

Sam Preminger is a Portland-based poet. Their work has appeared throughout various publications and they hold an MFA from Pacific University.