"Red" by Geoffrey Philp
The Crafty Green Poet has reintroduced me to a form that I'd long considered, but never attempted: the ghazal. And while this poem does not adhere strictly to the form, it did allow me to play with the word "red," which at the start of the poem refers to a biracial person or "half-caste."It's a strange thing, this blogging--this trying out of new things in public--merely setting the poems free the way that The Crafty Green Poet, Fragano, Rethabile, and Stephen do regularly. My friends, you have liberated me…
It burst from those lips that I'd adored, "You're just too red!"
The curse of being apart, neither black nor white, but red
followed me through the streets, staining the shadow
of those fires that flared behind my mother's garden: red
ginger towering over anthuriums with their bruised phalloi
straining against the bark of the live oak, stunned red
petals bending in the sunlight to the weight of shame,
their pliant skin absorbing yellow and blue to become red
like the way by resisting we become the thing we fear the most--
as I now accept this blessing freed from race. Call me Red.