Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Death & Times of Ancestor Man, a poem

To heck with it. I mean, really.  This poem, for better and worse, has 
been around for fifteen years.  I have never been sure of it although 
I love Ancestor Man and his long reach to the past (which is probably 
fell behind the couch.). So I'm publishing it here. (I DO like it.)
I was thinking about something (many things) when I wrote this.  
Authenticity. Colonial Hegemony, stupidities, thereof. Its lingering 
presence. Lies. Sleights.

The misdirection of anthropology. Sometimes, anyway.

Physically, Ancestor Man reminds me of Wile E. Coyote. 
(So let's get down to cases. Since you are a rabbit, 
I am going to eat you for dinner.) 

I did see a Dr. Ma, when I lived in Seattle. And he did sell me a  
brown paper bag filled with dead cicadas. A little creepy. 
They resembled roaches.
I boiled them for fifteen minutes, which lent a marijuana-gone-rancid 
air to my apartment. The idea behind the prescription,  
Chinese medicine, was, indeed, I was drinking coolness. 

My body ("hot") in Chinese med. terms, needed a break.
The Death & Times of Ancestor Man 
Where sunlight slips out over there 
cross a yard where a willow cranes, 
watching  lamentation disappear 
over & again—that’s where 
Ancestor Man took leave, not 
in the city like they told you.  
Not Ancestor Man.  Expert teams 
mold casts of his swift tread to read 
truth-in-plaster.  Oh, they pound  
their chests with grief.  Mr. A's gone.   
I will tell you what happened.  
He sucked himself in as if his body 
weren’t flesh & his mother opened, 
just a little.  Ancestor Man sunk in, 
knowing we look only to the past.  
When we were Aztecs & quenched 
our thirst with mythic blood downed 
like Big Gulps, the guy was happy.  Well, good riddance, Ancestor Man!” 
Not so quick.  He’s got his quirks but
would accept a token—roses, a card, 
contrition—to know we still care.  
Okay, it goes deeper than that. 
Ancestor Man was a drug lord 
fronting for a cartel. The drug?  
Something even Dr. Ma, 
who grinds cicadas so their wings 
cool my feverish nights, never 
studied. A generic would do,
but sickness is older than cure.  
by Sarah Sarai (and none other)

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