Urban Voices

A place for emerging urban Christian poets to be heard

August 10, 2007


by David Patrick Bickham

Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
I am my motherís legs and butt;
I am my fatherís torso; top heavy with belly and breasts;
          I imagine him, the one I do not know;
I am my sisterís, brothersí and little uncleís throats, waiting
          for cornbread and red beans and rice to cross the threshold of teeth;
I am my grandmotherís arthritis and disposition for diabetes and heart disease;
I am the lips of my great uncle, who was handsome, even in
          his decrepitude, unmistakably beautiful;
I am my grandfatherís namesake; I feature him;
I am my great grandfatherís height if not his light skinned color;
I am my ancestorsí Afro Indian and European hair,
          enhanced with applications and vigorous brushing;
I am my mentorís big ears gotten from his Jewish grandfather;
I am my fiancťeís liquid;
I am my unborn childrenís expression;
I am my great great auntís feet, long as baby coffins.
Do not hold me hold me hold me hold me hold me hold me.
I got the biochemistry from all sides;
I got the religiosity from all sides;
I got the amorous touch from all sides;
I got my femininity from all the women;
I got my masculinity from all the women.
I got my intelligence from all sides;
I got my psychological mystery from all sides;
I got my justice from the open and clandestine resistance;
I got my love of color and cloth from my mother;
I got my regality from their perseverance;
I got my love of what clothes can do from my uncles,
          Cuff linked elegance in fields of cotton, in beams of corn.
Play for me For me For me For me For me
I got my musicality from borrowed lungs like Christ borrowed the tomb;
I got my love of old people from my great grandmother;
I got my entrepreneurship from my grandmother;
I got my compulsive spending from my mother;
I got my love of the church from all sides;
I got my love of children from all sides;
I got my sensuality and sainthood from black preachers;
I got the blues from all sides;
I got the shovel in my hands from the undertaker.
Fan me Fan me Fan me Fan me Fan Me
I am blood memory. I am her face without my motherís nose. I am blood memory.
I am a pillow case ready to put the pillow in.
I am my own obituaries and the continuum of obituaries.
I am what the soloists and my lovers tell God about.
Now when it has come time to take the pillow of my
Body and wrap it up for the final time
In the pillow case of the blood memory of imagination
I want all of the women who helped me then, to
Help Me Help Me Help Me Help Me Help Me.

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About this week's author:

David Patrick Bickham is the 1987 winner of the In Search of a New Voice chapbook competition, which published Blackberry Juice from Blues Bones in 1989. At the time he was the youngest recipient of, and the first African American and the second Mississippian to achieve, this national prize. He also won first place for the short story ďNicodemusĒ in the North Carolina Writers Network competition. He is a graduate of Tougaloo College and runs a strategic planning, organizational development and fund-raising consultancy, The Bickham Consortium. He has many volunteer and civic interests, including the David Patrick Bickham Scholarship Fund, and has helped to establish over 25 new community- and faith-based organizations. He loves to travel, to cook, to read, and to work in the community. He lives in Madison with his wife, Felicia Trenise Bickham.

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Urban Voices Archive

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Urban Voices' purpose is to showcase the work of emerging poets who write about issues of urban life, racial identity, reconciliation and similar themes from a Christian perspective. If you have poetry you would like to submit for possible inclusion on this site, you may send it to info@urban-verses.com. Thanks for reading and writing!