the one with a barrel drum
strapped heavy on his back,
the other dragging guitar in hand,
and I’m thinking
this has got to be a joke, right?
Like some next level
negro bembón
chewing on some strange fruit type shit,
some niche meets negro spiritual shit.

________________________________________Then The Bomba Man orders rum
________________________________________and The Blues Man orders cognac
________________________________________and I’m cracking up
________________________________________’cause I know how this ends.
________________________________________This ends with si Dios fuera negro
________________________________________and dark gon’ catch me here.
________________________________________This ends with he sufrido, compaí
________________________________________and I’se felt pain.
________________________________________I know this ends
________________________________________exactly how it started:
________________________________________with black tears
________________________________________and black scars

and the whole thing is hilarious
until the two sit down
on either side of me.

________________________________________I look to both
________________________________________and can see into their liquor,
________________________________________catch sight of bones floating
________________________________________where ice should be
________________________________________and realize I can’t move.

The Bomba Man shifts his drum.
The Blues Man lifts his guitar.

_____________Chamaquito, mandan que cantes.

_________________________They want your song, boy.

________________________________________And now I know this is a joke
and the punchline is me.

Malcolm Friend