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Heart Condition
By Jericho Brown

I don't want to hurt a man, but I like to hear one beg.
Two people touch twice a month in ten hotels, and
We call it long distance. He holds down one coast.
I wander the other like any African American, Africa
With its condition and America with its condition
And black folk born in this nation content to carry
Half of each. I shoulder my share. My man flies
To touch me. Sky on our side. Sky above his world
I wish to write. Which is where I go wrong. Words
Are a sense of sound. I get smart. My mother shakes
Her head. My grandmother sighs: He ain't got no
Sense. My grandmother is dead. She lives with me.
I hear my mother shake her head over the phone.
Somebody cut the cord. We have a long distance
Relationship. I lost half of her to a stroke. God
Gives to each a body. God gives every body its pains.
When pain mounts in my body, I try thinking of my
White forefathers who hurt their black bastards quite
Legally. I hate to say it, but one pain can ease another.
Doctors rather I take pills. My man wants me to see
A doctor. What are you when you leave your man
Wanting? What am I now that I think so fondly
Of airplanes? What's my name, whose is it, while we
Make love. My lover leaves me with words I wish
To write. Flies from one side of a nation to the outside
Of our world. I don't want the world. I only want
African sense of American sound. Him. Touching.
This body. Aware of its pains. Greetings, Earthlings.
My name is Slow And Stumbling. I come from planet
Trouble. I am here to leave you uncomfortable.

--------

I spent Wednesday afternoon in Baltimore with Hufflepants, Paul, and my kids at the Maryland Science Center, which has an exhibit on Charles Schultz and the natural world entitled Peanuts, Naturally, a terrific IMAX movie about the building of Canada's intercontinental railway (with magnificent vistas of the Canadian Rockies, though the story involves a lot of tragedy) called Rocky Mountain Express, and a planetarium show narrated by Geoffrey Rush on Black Holes. I hadn't seen Hufflepants for months and it was wonderful to catch up! And I loved the Canadian history via trains and Geoffrey explaining the Theory of General Relativity.

On the way home we went to Brookside Gardens for the Garden of Lights and train show in the conservatory, which wasn't nearly as crowded as we feared. We drank hot chocolate and walked through the outdoor light displays, including the "thunderstorm," the sunflowers, and the one Adam and I call the Rainbow Giraffe. We had a coupon for a free Papa John's pizza, so we stopped to pick it up on the way home, then we watched a bunch of third season DS9 episodes including both parts of "Past Tense" which in the wake of the current state of the economy and Occupy Wall Street suddenly seems unnervingly realistic for 2024. So a good day!


Baltimore's Inner Harbor from the staircase in the Maryland Science Center.


The Peanuts exhibit focused on how nature is portrayed in the comics and Schultz's less-than-admirable presentation of the EPA.


Museum staff had a chinchilla, ferret, and ball python for visitors to see and pet.


Younger son took a photo of one of the blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay gallery, which also has diamondback terrapins.


When I posted these photos of Brookside in daylight, I promised a photo of the dragons lit up at night.


To enter the garden people walk through a giant caterpillar.


The thunderstorm has sound effects and a rainbow that lights up afterward.


I hung out with the "bundled" people but unfortunately the fire isn't real.

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April 2019

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