That Brother Tiresias

A blind man learned in the law was he,

and smiling once said this to me:

“Just wait to see and I’ll tell what

just watch to see what white folks does,”

“They’ll take the stuff that’s left behind,

Made up of rinds and eggshells broke,

and other stuff nobody wants,”

“They’ll take it down on MLK Boulevard,

and other streets named for Malcolm X,”

“And dump it right on top of us,”

“We, the poor dark wretched ones.”

And then he smiled a too rueful grin and grabbed my hand to pull me in,

“Hey man, you think I’m kidding you!”

“The white folks finishing the work they got,”

“And when they done they just moving on,”

“Like the pioneers and Magellan and all of them,”

“Cortez, Columbus and what’s his name,

They seen the stuff for which they come,”

“They planned to leave once you first moved in,”

“You call me blind!

You better look around,

cause they changing money,

And going underground,”

The blind man laughed like old Tiresias did,

Before he prophesied to some downfall,

To know the dice are snake-eyes thrown,

About some Greek come back from war,

where he had sailed and nearly drowned,

Some farm boy left from the Attic slopes,

who thought that War would make him free,

“You see,” he said with a simple grin,

“they ain’t never planned to live here long,”

“They’ve always played us for a chump,”

And then formed his face to stare me down,

“They ain’t staying on this Earth for long,

they’ll leave it once they used it up,

Once they know ain’t no more to eat,”

And then he looked like he knew for sure

what he had seen,

A Future of a time unborn,

Written only in his smile,

In chills I see his vision now,

a phantasm appears and vanishes

blinking off and on

And begins to fade,

Then all the things I thought

I knew,

I see are but a dream for true.





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