“Overheard at Starbucks: A Black Hat Saying” by Lynne Thompson

Lynne Thompson


you can’t be sure, can you—am I Father Time, the ghost of North by Northwest or your sister in drag? Even though your wallet’s been blessed by the Church of Luck be a Lady, no one will tell you and your heart is in your throat because I’m so beguiling/so confusing/so sad-white-poverty train on a Sunday afternoon when you’ve just dropped in for a decaf latte with cocoa shavings and to tickle the ATM. Don’t you wish your Father was here? Of course, He couldn’t help you—He doesn’t know the damned from piss-soup either! Can’t be sure, huh? Suppose I hack off my dreads? Wouldn’t matter—I’m your new job or your ole man with a new job or your lost pappy finally come home and you know you’ve always liked the nickel slots! Betcha, by golly, wow! Don’t know, do you, you saucy wench—but you pays your lira and you takes your chances and what’s the worst: that I’m a door knob—a seedy waterfront? Like you ain’t been there before! C’mon, seize my paw for a good time, pretty lady, because just what does saying oh Christ mean?

from Rattle #31, Summer 2009
Tribute to African American Poets

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