MY UNCLE, TOM

Jamaica Hardwick, Undergraduate
Originally Published, Spring 2010

(for T-Pain)

Thank you for reminding us of early entertainment. Face painted
burnt cork black. Shuck and jives floating along bottoms of empty glasses,
soaking in transparency. Apparently,
this is the era of symphonic crack:
hits preferred to music, producers to composers. Lose composure,
find it next to slouched postures.

Unconcerned with being coined coon—cash
flow unaffected. Pockets lined with gospel of
top hats, funny suits, and dark skin. Crippled
angel. Clipped wings on chipped shoulders. You
are not built to soar. Back begging for lashings
like it wants the past on flesh.

I said dance, nigger!

I wish you were bigger,
Thomas. Dreadlocked native son. Culturally twisted
mindset. Set the mind
beyond Sambo and someday you’ll be seen
at family gatherings
rather than auction blocks.

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