Today I made a man.
I ate a piece
of the music of the train overhead
and slathered a shoulder of blue.
The day was a week humming a 12-bar blues
I made up on the spot. The spot was red,
and all that’s buried under it remembers.
Every paper became the man’s face – his untamed
jaw, the glue and hank
of black nap, charcoal of neck.
I located a smile, but kept turning through pictures
until I found ivory teeth and rifts
of space. I painted
the cheerful crops and flocks of his senses.
I made his warm fingers.
He lived in an eye (mostly internal, polite)
seeing dust wheels and cabins.
The train just then
rumbled through the envelope of city,
but I had no ears for the chord.
I was in the garden
of Carolina-familiar with the homeswirl of birdwings
and everyone’s scrubbed shadow scratching up each other
in a tangle of neighbors.
My man that I made with the big slow eye
cups a leaf in his palm
and passes me his prayer for Harlem.
We look over the homely plot of sun,
which dropped like a token on our starless blocks of opinion,
our eyes crammed with apartments and ordinary hope.
Poem by Lauren Camp
Romare Bearden Cuts a Slow Eye For His Painting
As a jazz lover and DJ, I am pulled into the musicality of Bearden’s paintings. I can hear his collages. They strut and shimmy. With big eyes, they tell me all about neighborhoods and cities, and how decent people move through life. -Lauren Camp