The Last Poem, At This Table

The last poem
at this table …

Twelve years ago …
this boy was two
and we
moved out
here
on old
plantation
land, close to
Berrytown –

Let us pray …

I sip this coffee
for the last time
rubbing tired hands
nursing a weary mind
looking into a future
out this back window
for the last time.
This place, where
I sat, wrapping boot
laces, worn down,
exhausted but,

proud
to be laboring,
in tradition,
proud to be
taking care of
family.

& now, careful to
not boast that I
am escaping the
plantation.

& like a field
slave, who knew
how to look to the

stars, could
read the code –
I break into the
masters house,
to take my woman
and son, away.

Yet, I wanted to
work here,
build dreams –

my
time,
body
& soul
was
almost
stolen
by
another
man’s
venture.

#railroaded

 

& this place,
fell apart, of
over a decade
not being
able to be here.

I could tell stories
of many a lashing –
isolated lonesome
feelings of being
used –
watching my
friends
raped.

so, what I am
doing –
at this table –
this morning –
is loading up
& taking
all i worked
for, to the
promised land.

The master is
sleeping,
& he will wake
up to find
my wife and
child,
gone!

& yes, i had to
convince
her …

sometimes
she listened to
the other house
slaves who told
of wild men and
woman, planning
an insurrection.
Told, “don’t go –
we have it so
good here.”

(and she,
is the wild one ???
Born of native
blood and spirited
like a wild horse
that has been
tamed by
the deep
dedication
of mothering.)

I, have been called
crazy before …
branded a
traitor …
yet,

(re-learned
the language
of the soil …
became fluent
playing and listening
to the drums speak
when the master
was not looking.
Secretly seeking
council with
elders,
some who
had tried to
leave before
and were to
old to escape
but had
a clear
picture of
where to
run.)
& now, i say
my peace, to
those afraid
to go!
My heart
will always
be with
them …
my work
now,
is to eventually

set them free …

peace be with you …

John Paul

Sunday, July 23rd 2017

Middletown, Kentucky



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