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His Braids
--after a painting by George Jennings
by Wayne Lee

This is hard for a bald man
a white man an older man
lookin at a picture of a beautiful young black man
long beautiful braids hangin down so far they turn
to roots
all abstract squiggly underground
and along the way down
down where those beautiful black eyes
are lookin
is nothin but sky
big puffy yellow clouds in a strange yellow sky
like he must be a high up man
leadin a big dramatic life
lookin down over all creation like that
like he’s up there in heaven or something but wait

those look like they could be storm clouds don’t they
and wait is that a tear on his cheek
or maybe a scar
and is that left cheek all swollen up
like maybe he got in a fight or something
and hold on a minute those shoulders look way too narrow
for a man
and damn if that isn’t a woman isn’t it
the head and shoulders and arms
of a beautiful naked black woman in a yellow sky damn

now I see it
just check out those beautiful puffy lips
that smooth skin with the golden cast
and all of a sudden she’s so sexy and sad and beautiful
I just want to comfort her or touch her arm
or maybe cry
and ain’t I just an old white bald fool for thinkin

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