a barbershop on flatbush

it was if I had walked
into a coup d’état
a tribe of elders
a cri de coeur
old men sabotaged
by blue baseball caps
money green windbreakers
thick creole accents
old men
eyes welling up with distrust
checkerboard fingertips
developed lips
disapora line running across
their forehead
libations are given
for the earthquake dead
offered veneration
to Shango and Damballah
oranges and mangoes
called on Aya
transformed this barbershop
into a meeting house
looked around the room
for Christophe
a young Touissant
with muscle tank skill
shave my skull
saved my soul
this mea culpa
with rubbing alcohol and aloe
washed away the residue
looked around the room
and saw Mandela
Martin Obama
Malcolm Desalline
a chair available
I knew I would succeed
not downtown
but the underground
missed an ambush
in this shop on flatbush

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