Perhaps you haven’t made it yet to the exhibition at the Library of Museum. Neither have I, in fact. But I was surprised to see the title: “TO BE SOLD” because it corresponds to my current research for the opera Monte & Pinky, which we hope to perform next year. This research, plus a prompt from the Poetry Society of Virginia and some time to work while traveling on a train have resulted in a small book of poems, RICHMOND SCENES. Below are the first lines of some of the poems. For the complete poems and other notes, see Richmond Scenes. (Note: this book was later incorporated into Coming Around. See blog for December 14, 2015.)
The peloton passed into Sophie’s Alley
racing crumbling stables, whoosh of flame
from tipped pail of kerosene igniting . . . .
Walker’s Negro Organization Society
To tell you plain, I never will be done
with praising you. Not pain, my giant size,
nor “hinge of midnight” ere the moon arise–
my blackness . . . .
He had a tall stump for the block
and had to help me up.
That’s when I caught his eye.
He said, Step down. Wait in the back.
Later he helped himself.
And so I came to stay.
We grew tobacco in a flower pot
below the sill from seeds like sanding grit.
Above the sill, it flowered over cosmos.
A horned caterpillar gnawed it down. . . .
Not far below us moves a spring
feeding abandoned fields
and toppled trees, departed going
concerns and lost yields. . . .
Ginter’s novelties began with toys,
wind-up china dolls, gimcracks and slides
for stereopticons. His switching sides
came when the men he later led were boys. . . .
The Painter, 1960
Picked up for walking west of Boulevard,
a painter on his way back home had proof–
the check that he’d received instead of cash.
King Prosser, Nat, and insurrectionists, . . .