Wise Poets – Rachel Eliza Griffiths – Heart Of Darkness

Rachel Eliza Griffiths (December 06, 1978 -)

Years ago I went to Noho Star
with some poets & Cecil Taylor.
Noho Star is closed now
& Cecil died yesterday. I walked
to Union Square & watched black
men playing chess. Rubbing their jaws
while the afternoon light poured
down the gentle rooks of their fingers
hanging above a queen or pawn.
Cecil Taylor sat across the table
from me. Wearing leather gym
shorts, rainbow-striped kneesocks,
a fringe vest, & a face so musical
I could hear the notes blunting
& banging as he low-laughed & looked
like a lion who had bitten off
the ancient secret of a soft roar. I
liked him right away. Said yes when
he asked me if I would share
a dessert with him. I in an ivory
dress that was vintage, the kind
my mother would have worn,
with chiffon sleeves—the shining
air made the loose dress
cling to me. The way a special
music clung to Cecil Taylor,
followed the radical swing &
swag of his voice. *Do you want*
*to have the Heart of Darkness*
*together,* he said. *That looks*
*sweet enough.* I remembered
later when we stood on the sidewalk,
sugar & poetry in us. Heat
coming off the summer night in the city
always made me feel I could
never leave New York. He kissed
my cheeks. Said he had been fooled.
*I didn’t think they made women*
*like you anymore.* Tipped his cowboy hat
& took off his sunglasses. My god,
in the dark his eyes burned so clear
& wild I thought the sun was out, roaring
through our hearts like a song,
daring its hunter to aim