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Erren Geraud Kelly

White girl with dreads

And I love the way she rocks them
As Bob Marley plays in the coffeehouse
In a small college town
Just as a Charlie Parker cd
Is fading away in my headphones
She's wearing the colors of Jamaica
Around her neck and it
Suits her
To grow dreads is to be
Married to your hair; it's a commitment
Some take as long as 10 years
To grow dreads
Which come down to her
Like Samson, her hair gives her
I should ask her if she has
Some black in her
Or more bluntly
Does she want some black
In her?
Cos now, her body reminds me
Of a yogi's
And I'm imagining it
Bending into shapes
More complicated than algebra
And she's either sending a text
On her smartphone
Or receiving one
I'm thinking maybe she's jewish
Or Italian
She looks soulful and ethnic
I look at her again and she
Looks so epic
I look at her a third time
With the same voraciousness
Dagwood has when he sees a
Six foot long sandwich

I'm not a reggae head; I'm more
Into jazz
But I don't care, cos her body
Is a jazz song all its own
I'm imagining her dreads
Under a sunsplash of a
Washing all the drama

The Beer Coaster...after the poem The Lanyard by Billy Collins

the other day, as I was
quickly surfing the web
like a lab mouse in
moving from youtube,to
extremist web page to
pop-ups about male enhancer

I stumbled upon a web site
that sold beer coasters

no soul food dish ever
eaten by an urban author
ever left a more profund effect as

I was transported in dreams
like capain kirk
back to childhood summers
in Louisiana, near a bayou
where I sat at a bench
facing little circles of wood
sandpaper, knives and watercolor

we learned how to make a beer coaster
a gift, we would give to our

I had never seen a beer coaster
I doubted if my daddy even cared
but that didn't stop me from
cutting and sawing and sanding
and painting designs on it
personalizing it for

my father gave me half his
which helped created me
and gave me will, and drive and

I gave him a beer coaster

here are thousands of dollars. several
years of clothes and tons of life
to pursue your dreams and hair-brained
schemes, and attempts
to impress girls, he said

and here is the beer coaster
I handed to him with a smile
a gift, I made with help from
a counselor

I'm giving you my name, my looks
some ambition, a typewriter, a broken down
and enough moxie to power a

and here is your beer coaster, daddy

and I wish to say to you now,not a smaller truth
not the rueful admission
that you can never repay your father, but that

as my father accepted this pathetic
useless, inanimate tool, I made one day
at camp

I felt I was fulfilling
my role as the good son

that I had truly accomplished something

©2016 by Erren Geraud Kelly

Erren Geraud Kelly's poetry has been published in allegro, red fez, crack the spine, oddville press and in numerous literary journals in print and online in the United States and Europe. Kelly recieved a B.A. in english-creative writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

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