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from Lyrics of the Crossing

by Michael S. Judge


So the people in Mittelamerika hear about Civil Rights. For Black men, for Hispanics. And they project a New World like an empire of the lust four hundred years have grafted onto black men.  The necessary fruits of the Hanging Tree. What's nurtured on quick blood, wrought sperm, a mandrake underneath the Tree of Wrath. People hear about Black men asking to be treated like human beings, and shiver at the New World it announces. No more a reservoir and fund for the want we can't admit in our own bodies. No more a body where the needle ends. Where the mosquito-mouth, swollen with blood sucked from our blackest wet desire, deposits Negro color in the skin of that convenient people. The people hear a phrase like Civil Rights and see a New World where they're half-amputees, half-crippled by the pent-up lust that guides their deformations. 
If we can't mutilate the Black man anymore, his mutilation will trace beelines back to its own source in us. The river will break and flow back. The Red Sea will snap shut across our chosen people, serving out the sentence of all time in this white ruin of Jerusalem. If there are no more men named Black, and no more women prefixed with the qualifier of their color, then all that ingrown poison will have nowhere to go.  We'll become walking infections. We'll become a race of ticks, ballooned with too much food and still unable to stop eating. 
We'll become the true race of this Middle, where the New World ended: everyone conjoined to his own aborted twin. Driven around, like certain spiders plant their eggs inside the brains of living prey, by black calligraphies of lust. Nowhere to run out now. No water to pollute, no Africa to bend beneath our calipers. We'll feed on ourselves with something less than cannibalism, because what eats will be the inadmissible portion, and what's eaten will be names we wear in day. Our night, the unborn twin, will make slow feast on sunshine harvest. Our night, heretofore parceled out in Black men and admitting of a lynch mob when we couldn't take the strain, will be an ingrown thing. 
Pouring hot syrup on our lungs. 
Filling the branch of bronchioles with mangled bodies that we would've hanged, back before Black men had the New Law. Filling the branch of scattered vein-trees with our own castrated corpses. 
So much easier when they were other people's, and the hanging man was marked out by his blackness. But now the tree of borrowed air that scores our lungs - now that tree will be full of illegal lynchings. Now we'll hardly be able to breathe for all the broken birdmen, images of ourselves, snapped to their crucifixion in a pair of air-poor sacs. Now we'll breathe in the small pulmonary corners. Whatever's left for spare room when the black idol, once expelled in prey and sport on Black men, settles there for lifelong choking. Black idol who is God of this New World, where we drown on his black whisper.