My First Wise Man


From My First American Train Ride

& An Observation At My New Home


  From New York To Reno, My 4th Year



Men with skin like chocolate

white shirts immaculate as my bed sheets,

doing all the heavy work

carrying our suitcases

bringing the food

delivering the important messages

the holy men who did the work

and bent down

and spoke to me

Broken French

with smiles of gold


Indians who'd never been to India

standing at the station

Denver snow on the ground - Headdresses the

works, looking just like

American Cowboy Movies

I'd seen untranslated

back in the Old World

standing there pathetically

selling souvenirs of their vanishing way


I went up & down the aisles

holding up passengers

in my chaps, ten gallon, boots

& two unholstered six guns

my new Amare-i-cun Father

had bought

ululating my only English


and the grey suited men with grey hair

and pink faces would laugh

and tell their wives

“what a cute little French boy”

as they handed me

-the Belgian Outlaw-

a stick of chewing gum


when we arrived at our new home

and eventually moved

to my new Father's hometown Oakland

My Original Vision of America confused

as new dad explained to Mother

how she did wrong to invite

the tired “negro” mailman into

the house

for fresh lemonade on the

hot day with his giant brown


I recall asking him

“what color is yr blood?”

and the great beautiful answer

he showed me with a pocket knife

there coming out of the palm

of his big brown hand

-my first wise man-