Brown. Skin.

Time again to wax poetic. Time for my poetry pen to flow.

Brown. Skin.
By Jonathan Clarke

Act I – Baby
My baby wears brown skin
Truly, brown skin
And she’s comfortable in
The skin she’s in
And the story within
Just beneath her skin.

Beneath the surface
Her epidermis
Lie hidden, concealed
For few revealed
Tucked away from view
From me and you
A forlorn tale
A solemn story
Of falls from bikes
And descent from glory
Of skateboards once liked
And skirts brazenly hiked
By the guardians of her innocence,
Family friends
Lust-filled, Godly men
Who occasioned to consider
Little else than the unbridled
Passions of their minor protrusion
The depravity of lust
Cultivating confusion
Sewing seeds of
Doubt and dismay
Discontent and disillusion
Absent of forethought
Her wellbeing an afterthought
If at all they thought
About the plan of God
For this roseate soul adorning
All that beautiful brown skin.

Abandoned by convention
Exposed and uncovered
Sans intervention
Served helpless to chaste
Wilder-beasts who with
Chummy grins
Did bruise her skin
Again and again
And again
Shove aside her
Like platters of fried chicken
From whose carcass
They stripped the skin
Knowing that alone
Comprised the full
Complement of their craven desire
Their only interest in
That juicy and
Delicious brown skin
They devoured it:
The thighs
The legs
The back
The breast
Broke apart the wings
Assuring never again
Would she fly
Let alone walk
So defiantly as she did

With heavy head raised
Heart bowed though humbled
Struggling to stand upright
She’d shuffle and stumble
Forward through measured steps
Destined to crumble
She slumped
And fell upon the earth.


She stood and grinned
And brushed at the scrapes
And the knees she’d skinned
And toughened the skin
They tried to thin
But could not prevail
They could not win
Because eagles soar
In Heavenly splendor
Above miniscule men
Who dare not render
Him praises fit only
For demons ears

Who respect not the grace
Of skin Truly Brown
And of her treasured place
In the Almighty’s crown

Act II – Lady
My lady wears brown skin
Truly, brown skin
And she’s comfortable in
The skin she’s in
And the story within
Her proud skin

The skin of her mother’s mother
And their ancestral kin
Who bent stooped
Back when
Eschewing evil lashes
From he
Who with lighter skin
Dared stand in authority
Assuming superiority
Over Eve, his mother
Who birthed humankind
Vicious, pale skin unkind
To Eva, his mammy
From whose muddy nipples
Flowed the milk of life

From whose charcoal breasts
Sprang forth life eternal
From whose bloody bosom
Came forth tribes and nations
Of warrior-kings
And inventions and things
Formed and fashioned
From hands that resembled
Her beautiful brown ones
From feet that walked on water
Or so it now seems
To a land unfamiliar and frighteningly so
Of eyes fixing their gazes
Upon an unrecognizable world
Of noses assaulted
By the odor of death and despair
Of ears attuned
To the doleful din
Of shackled masses
Who labored and toiled
In the soil and grasses
Beneath the penumbra
Of stately plantation homes.

From the prayers of grandmothers
Who labored beneath
A hot Carolina sky
Come the reasons why
My lady’s head holds high
Why she sits beside Daniel
In his cozy den
Smiling at those who would
Feast upon her bones
Why her dress smells of smoke
But not ashes
Because she fled unharmed
With the three Hebrew boys
Why her True Brown skin
Radiates with a glow
That scorches the faces of those
Who once mocked her

Down she reached
Into the abyss
And plucked a plum
Out from the pit
Of its void
Down she bit
Into obscured light
And ate of its flesh
She ate and her belly
Was full
As the eternally Righteous One
It should be

Upon that promise
Stands my lady proud and strong
Upon a story ancient and long
Upon a hope for redemption
That sweeps back to
Her redeemer’s lips
His outstretched hands
His fingertips
The palatial pronouncement
Resounding from
His lips
That ignite life
And foretold her existence
That inspires hope
And propels her persistence
That orders her steps
It ordains her breath
And plants her in the pose
Of brown warriors
Who battled from dark spaces
Into light.

©Copyright 2018 Jonathan Clarke, All rights reserved


Portrait of a Nation

EF300A3E-99DF-4CBC-B948-86485D633AF6.jpegBarack Obama’s public appearance at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery today pained me in a way most of his post-presidential cameos has yet to. I’ve grown accustomed to those disconsolate heart tugs that come with seeing Citizen Obama periodically surface here and there. It’s similar to that wistful longing you get when you see you ex-lover turn up at the same art exhibit, clearly doing better off — without you.

Today, however, was different. The melancholy this time, as The Smithsonian unveiled Kehinde Wiley’s official likeness of President Obama, was more than a simple things-ain’t-like-they-used-to-be. Observing Obama at this formal event, hearing him speak and seeing Wiley’s stunning portrayal of the president fixed against chrysanthemums, jasmine and African blue lillies was the most vivid illustration of how unlike our current leader Obama was and is. It’s a clear portrait of the depths our nation’s public image and demeanor has plunged.

54EE6C5F-B192-4004-9A5C-A31466F3F6ADBy comparison, see that mock Time cover of Trump that’s been circulating lately. See how menacing and vile the artist imagines 45. Obama’s painting, by contrast, reflects a man who is at once lovely, graceful and intelligent — characteristics Trump never could aspire to.

The nation’s eventual appetite for the likes of Obama’s replacement paints the grimmest picture of where we are and dreadfully are heading.

(C) Copyright 2018, Jonathan Clarke All Rights Reserved


We are here to love one another’s souls, to connect with and tend to one another — at the soul level. When you meet someone in that place, you’ve experienced the true blessing of God. Give and be given to. Be kind to others, but foremost, be kind to yourself.
-Jonathan Clarke

© Copyright 2017, Jonathan Clarke, All Rights Reserved