And the song is not about anything
in particular       just melody and wound
pain is true enough for a man to pass
for a whole country     and he is young
and named Barry then     and I think of
how my parents flinch sometimes when
I say my name      how it sits opaque
as a kidney stone   jagged sugars
a slow waltz with what is forbidden
Barry dances with white girls and glances
uncomfortably with all the Black boys
and we all know the white girl is a phase
a counterbalance to the basketball
which is either a very obtuse Atlas reference
or a reminder that Barry does Black stuff too
and I used to think wherever a white girl
could see me is where I was from
I did not say Love
I did say my name was David which is not untrue
and the song is throbbing by now
David dances near the white girls and plays basketball
David hasn’t sung since the last white girl he wanted
David        body of static    the electric glazing the TV
clingy and inconvenient down to the touch
the song is winding down now
scabbing over into an exhausted piano
Barry smokes a cigarette      David was never alive
Anthony Hamilton reaches into the back of his mouth
pries the gristle of a repossessed house from between
two molars and it is dark and neighbored with callouses
asks                        Is this where you’re from?
Barry says                   we are Americans
I say                                         yes


Julian Randall