Seven for Yusef / An Encomium for Yusef Lateef's "Like It Is"



1
How can I explain
the changing of your hands
at times
as delicate
as Yusef bending notes
into the stillness of dawn
and others
a tornado of touch
billowing seven shades of blue
across my back

their palms
as smooth as the whispers
before our first kiss

as unwavering
as my belief
in love poems
& your heart

2
wrapped around the candy sheen of your smile
Yusef's melodies are a sweet surrendera night's offering
the magic of somethin conjured

Yusef's melodies are a sweet surrendera bouquet of honeyed flowers
the magic of somethin conjured
from promise and prayer

a bouquet of honeyed flowers
a night's offering
wrapped around the candy sheen of your smile

3
baited and whole note
our breath gives shape to silence
when lips and fingers
are too tired to speak of
the world that has been made here

4
tongue
taste my skin
etch half moons of wanting
on claimed landscape

taste my skin
leave violet scorched kisses
on claimed landscape
defiantly breaking treaties of the invisible

leave violet scorched kisses
unearth raw soil this is how I want you
defiantly breaking treaties of the invisible

this land is yours to conquer

5
There are scars here
that do not matter
places where desert terrain
becomes silken skin
and blackened flesh
atop collarbone&eyelids
in the crevasses of elbows&knees
become beautiful stained glass
in your eyes of wonder

6
I taste
the music of the day
on your neck
the sun salted Adam's apple
the spice of cologne
gathered at the nape
the particles of cotton
quietly settled in the ridges
where your shoulders meet
each lick
a welcomed reminder
of the two hour pilgrimage
to a place
I want you
to call home

7
This is how
you hold a woman
into thoughts of forever
how you make her hunger
for what the heart cannot taste

The song, "Like It Is" appears on Yusef Lateef's 1968 album, The Blue Yusef Lateef.

{liberatormagazine.com exclusive feature}
by Nia I'man Smith

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