Three Poems by Angela Jackson-Brown
Love Notes to My Cousin, Appalachia
Back to the Mountaintop
There are days when He feels like a dream. Like one day,
or night, we collectively went to sleep and conjured him up.
Like in our desperation to overcome the debilitating effects of Jim Crow,
we made ourselves a monument and named it King. We pretended
it had breath, bone, and soul, and we made up inspirational
rhetoric that flowed from its unmovable lips to further lull
us into a deeper sleep.
We. Over. Come. Promised. Land. Equal. Get. There.
Mountain. Top. With. You. Not. Afraid. I’ve. Seen. Not. Afraid. The.
Coming. Lord. Not. Afraid. Not. Afraid.
Maybe we crafted this sepia-skinned angel-man out of leftover
memory pieces that stowed away in the belly of those
beasts that swallowed up our ancestors, bringing them to a land
of barren promises. Maybe this King we coronated from wordless
freedom papers and promises of kingdoms
made of up 40 acres of hallucinated land, surrounded by
mountaintops with no bottoms, was just one endless fall down
into the pit of no overcome.
No freedom song. No peace like a river. No freedom song.
No how I got over. No freedom song. No Steal Away.
No Go Down Moses. No freedom song. No Kingdom Come.
No Take My Hand. No Precious Lord. No King. Will come.
No freedom. No song. No freedom. No song. No…
Maybe we should go back to the Mountaintop
and look over the edge to see
if maybe he went down the other side without us. Maybe
the Promised Land is waiting,
acres of land, separated into plots of 40,
with a now white-haired King,
waiting for his subjects to come home.