The Color of My Circumference I

Mike Ladd & Vijay IyerIn the delicate distance
Of brown, I sit on a bus

With uneasy proximity
Of tan, I look out on Queens

Shade shift my way to JFK
Ride past INS possessing my access

In kind and card, swipe the coded
Stripe and my name drops in ones and zeroes

Somewhere a computer may know
Ladd is to Pratt as Cawthorne is to Willis is

To Pickett and on
What it won’t show are the moments

Of love or lust that swirl
Through centuries and tans me here

Making me one more memento
Of a close-quartered world

All trinkets of time shrink space
A cluttered reflection of collections

Am I a catalogue of memories
A series of possessions?

Of an age within an age within an age
Is a mirror to a mirror to a mirror
Of a people to a people within a people

Each image, descending in view like seeing
One’s history through the core of a spine

Stepping through the act
of self-appropriation

My mother relies on the old
Negro spirit of reinvention

“I am a citizen of the world”
Ta da she is

The Color of My Circumference I,
In What Language?,
Mike Ladd & Vijay Iyer


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