A Portrait of Self by Joseph Powell

A Portrait of Self
I am sound and fury,
strurm und drang,
wrapped in black skin;
I am
what a sinner looks like,
broken by grace;
the son,
my father never had;
the apotheosis
of blues incarnate
and undiluted jazz.
I am
the love-infused truth
of Baldwin;
I am,
Nina Simone
in a man’s body;
you read my words because
you can handle the truth.
I am
the city of broad shoulders,
and all its Bronzeville residents,
distilled to represent
light and shadow,
beauty and pain;
my name
is verisimilitude;
my name
is on the lips,
by the one
who preached
the Sermon on the Mount.
I am
not what you think I am,
but I am,
what you need me to be;
touching you
to the very core of your soul;
I am
the moral of the story;
I am
the riddle,
wrapped in a mystery,
inside an enigma,
yearning to breathe free;
what love
looks like in public
in private;
your favorite myths,
if they were all true;
your wildest fantasies
that you need never feel guilty of;
the spark
that lit the candle of liberty;
the stream of consciousness
you want to keep rolling along.
I am
the dark knight;
the dark passenger;
the very dark itself,
penetrated by light,
as only light can penetrate.
I am
the very last line
of a never-ending poem…
to be continued.


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