June 16, 2008

"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.



Stephen A. Bess said...

Yes, this was cool. Very nice. Thanks for the breakdown of the meaning and the video. Fans like me get the Philp experience without paying the cost of fuel to get to Miami. :)

Geoffrey Philp said...

Thanks, Stephen. And with the price of gas skyrocketing ....video may be the way to go.


Rethabile said...

From where I am, if I had to pay, yikes!

Red is a good word here because it brings up quite a few associative ideas, like the so-called Red Indian. Red is an important colour in Africa (check out most African flags).

I love the poem, the petals bending in the sunlight to the weight of shame. Thanks for the read.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Oh this is good! Coincidentally i had been trying to write a colour ghazal and had really struggled with it, but your poem inspires me to try again!

Geoffrey Philp said...

Thank you for the original inspiration!