Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Friday, December 11, 2015

Oakland Talk


Gertie Stein, Otis Sistrunk, Al Davis,
Mac Dre,Sharon Shore, Bert Camapneras,
Frank Epperson, and all, oh
where have you gone? You're hiding

in triplicate under the sun. That's
where you must to be. Oakland's changed
greatly and not at all. Always and forever
a hard place. I sat on a bench across from a bench
staked out by a homeless guy who dreamed
he was still a young man. I played

chess on my phone in Jack
London Square. What do you think
of that, Jack? After a red-headed woman
walked by and gained distance, the guy
on the bench said, in the growl of a carnival-barker,
"She's got a chin like Brunhilda!"

Neither a compliment, nor an insult:
that's Oakland talk. Silver and black,
Oakland slips out of your grasp like mercury.


hans ostrom





Post a Comment