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& the reason i’m so peculiar’s
cuz i been studyin up on my daddy’s technique
& everythin i do is magic these days

– Ntozake Shange


Now you see it – now you don’t. These eyes,
scandalous and brown, reverberating the sound

of DNA caught in a time warp; punch buttons,
pull levers — destination: 1976. Now these

eyes, they are my own, but they contain the sparkle
that spins fables or lies – you decide. I’m a storyteller

by nature: so was Dad. His best sellers: the riveting
story of how he found my older brother by the

soft shore of the Pacific Ocean, as if Earth had opened
up, given birth through the sands of Venice Beach,

and then laid the baby out in bright, sparkling daylight
for him to find; the epic tale of how he stared down

a rattlesnake and brought an ax blade down on
its neck while Arizona stood and watched, her

burning single eye sending August fire down from
her clear, azure face; and his poetry painting melted visions

of burning children with their black smoke shadows
frozen on concrete – instant prints of final agony

rendered by atomic Hiroshima flash. I could never
tell what was truth and what was fiction from his

lips. Now, I see faeries in my dreams, hear the
tortured songs of banshees in my ears, and see

a dead poet standing, bowing, and offering his soft lips
to my outstretched hand with my third eye. Or do

I? My dad was a storyteller by nature, and all I have
left of him is this gift. So, what comes from my lips:

fables or lies? You decide. Look into my eyes.
See this sparkle, insane or wise – and you decide.

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