oakland blues :: ishmael reed

Well it’s six o’clock in Oakland
and the sun is full of wine
I say, it’s six o’clock in Oakland
and the sun is red with wine
We buried you this morning, baby
in the shadow of a vine

Well, they told you of the sickness
almost eighteen months ago
Yes, they told you of the sickness
almost eighteen months ago
You went down fighting, daddy. Yes
You fought Death toe to toe

O, the egrets fly over Lake Merritt
and the blackbirds roost in trees
O, the egrets fly over Lake Merritt
and the blackbirds roost in trees
Without you little papa
what O, what will become of me

O, it’s hard to come home, baby
To a house that’s still and stark
O, it’s hard to come home, baby
To a house that’s still and stark
All I hear is myself
thinking
and footsteps in the dark

points of view :: ishmael reed

The pioneers and the indians
disagree about a lot of things
for example, the pioneer says that
when you meet a bear in the woods
you should yell at him and if that
doesn’t work, you should fell him
The indians say that you should
whisper to him softly and call him by
loving nicknames
No one’s bothered to ask the bear
what he thinks

scrub jays :: ishmael reed

Free as a bird
You wish
Grounded
And cross old man
Glaring from the
Kitchen window
As I stab my beak into
The choice apples at
The top of your tree
You can ball your fists
All you want
You can grit your
Plastic teeth
But there’s nothing that
You can do about it

What good are apples
To old men, anyway
You have lost your bite
You have run out of
Ladders to climb

Your ultrasonic solar-powered
Animal repellent
The Honda among dissuaders
Might rid your garden of
The capo cats, but
The bandit raccoons
Figured out that one
Within 48 hours

Getting rid of one pest
Only invites others
You’re in your 70s
And haven’t learned that

Now that the coast
Is clear, our entire
Family can fly in
I know
We are warble-less
We are born thieves
We’ll steal an acorn
From a woodpecker

We’ve beat you out
Of your harvest
We, who are not the decorous
Fluorescent song bird of your
Dreams

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