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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Kevin Young - Money Road

On the way to Money,

     Mississippi, we see little

ghosts of snow, falling faint

 

     as words while we try to find

Robert Johnson’s muddy

     maybe grave. Beside Little Zion,

 

along the highwayside, this stone

     keeps its offerings—Bud & Louisiana

Hot Sauce—the ground giving

 

     way beneath our feet.

The blues always dance

     cheek to cheek with a church—

 

Booker’s Place back

     in Greenwood still standing,

its long green bar

 

     beautiful, Friendship Church just

a holler away. Shotgun,

     shotgun, shotgun—

 

*

 

rows of colored

    houses, as if the same can

of bright stain might cover the sins

 

     of rotting wood, now

mostly tarpaper & graffiti

     holding McLaurin Street together—

 

RIP Boochie—the undead walk

     these streets seeking something

we take pictures of

 

     & soon flee. The hood

of a car yawns open

     in awe, men’s heads

 

peer in its lion’s mouth

     seeking their share. FOR SALE:

Squash & Snap Beans. The midden

 

     of oyster shells behind Lusco’s—

the tiny O of a bullethole

     in Booker’s plate-glass window.

 

*

 

Even the Salvation

     Army Thrift Store

closed, bars over

 

     every door.

We’re on our way again,

     away, along the Money

 

Road, past grand houses

     & porte cochères set back

from the lane, over the bridge

 

     to find markers of what’s

no more there—even the underpass

     bears a name. It’s all

 

too grave—the fake

     sharecropper homes

of Tallahatchie Flats rented out

 

     along the road, staged bottle trees

chasing away nothing, the new outhouse

     whose crescent door foreign tourists

 

*

 

pay extra for. Cotton planted

     in strict rows

for show. A quiet

 

     snow globe of pain

I want to shake.

     While the flakes fall

 

like ash we race

     the train to reach the place

Emmett Till last

 

     whistled or smiled

or did nothing.

     Money more

 

a crossroads

     than the crossroads be—

its gnarled tree—the Bryant Store

 

     facing the tracks, now turnt

the color of earth, tumbling down

     slow as the snow, white

 

*

 

& insistent as the woman

     who sent word

of that uppity boy, her men

 

     who yanked you out

your uncle’s home

     into the yard, into oblivion—

 

into this store abutting

     the MONEY GIN CO.

whose sign, worn away,

 

     now reads UN

Or SIN, I swear—

     whose giant gin fans,

 

like those lashed & anchored

     to your beaten body,

still turn. Shot, dumped,

 

     dredged, your face not even

a mask—a marred,

     unspared, sightless stump—

 

*

 

all your mother insists

     we must see to know

What they did

 

     to my baby. The true

Tallahatchie twisting

     south, the Delta

 

Death’s second cousin

     once removed. You down

for only the summer, to leave

 

     the stifling city where later

you will be waked,

     displayed, defiant,

 

a dark glass.

     There are things

that cannot be seen

 

     but must be. Buried

barely, this place

     no one can keep—

 

*

 

Yet how to kill

     a ghost? The fog

of our outdoor talk—

 

     we breathe,

we grieve, we drink

     our tidy drinks. I think

 

now winter will out—

     the snow bless

& kiss

 

     this cursed earth.

Or is it cussed? I don’t

     yet know. Let the cold keep

 

still your bones.