Rollerskating with Jesus on the Grand Concourse
I rollerskate on the Concourse
past art deco buildings
I use the strengh of my legs to push me forward
the bend of my knees for momentum
the gaze towards the courthouse to keep my balance
Yet, I fall
(No, I did not wear any protective gear.
I just rolled with my faith in myself.)
My knee, its skin scrapped off
The scrape must have covered my whole knee.
My brother tells me good, you are learning
He kneels down and looks at the scrape.
He walks me to an open hydrant and takes a handkerchief out
Of his back pocket to clean my knee.
(Yes, we used water from an open hydrant,
No, I am not sure where that handkerchief was
And no, we did not use Neosporin.)
He tells me to sit on the edge oft he sidewalk, next to his Sony boombox.
He increased the volume.
His afro looked like Jesus halo –
Give me a ho, you got your funky bus fare
Ho – ho – ho – ho
The wheels grew from his feet,
moonwalking then spins, first on both feet,
then on one leg, making undulations with
He spins and spins
Bip bop bam, alakazam,
like a record
after a strong scratch release
crossing his legs with his body tilted on one side
then switching direction with his body tilted the other direction
(Yes, my brother fell. Even the best of them have to fall, right?)
It was a pepple that made him fall.
He smiles at himself, looks at me
With the same smile, and tells me
We all have to fall sometime,
but we learn when we get back up.
I took his hand out for me to get up.
I took his hand and we skated
My Jesus – my brother – and me.
Poem: Mercy Tullis-Bukhati
Supported by Gail Longstroth