Herald Takes Her Word

Cord’n tuh Del mothuh onry sistuh Berneath,
who luh tuh class off since she moo tuh Macon,
whuh ah ain gah is eelet. Now you tell me whuh
duh hellat spose tuh mean? Evuh heah uh such?

She middle skoo teachuh. Dey fambly take huh
ver serous. Quain Estuh weddin, ah ax righ tuh
grumply mug, “Hah come you cain be straigh en direck?”
She frown. Hump up. “Thass jess yo prolem Herl.”

Berneath doan respeck ah wukkin muh lan by han.
Tole huh, “Doan be labelin me wit no funny stuff.”
Gah some damn nerve. She caugh tick fevuh, stuck in bid,
nevuh thank me nuh Del fuh sennin money.

Berneath sat der en persiss. Eelet, if one do have it,
would know how it apply. Man, ah shine huh own,
shake muh laigs wit thick ladies, sip muh Jack
en Sprigh, kick back till muh hid flop mah chess.

Ah fess few days latuh run it by three frens
who bettuh den me at dey lettuhs. Siff through
uh fat dishionare, but swear eelet doan exiss.
Caution at hincty womun jess messin wit yo mine.

But Mistuh Samule J. Portee, mah lone tahm barbuh,
do lots uh studin tuh sef impru. Well, he decide
it mean thuh reverse uh crude, like polite,
culchuh, famish, uh refine. So, den, okay.

Charles H. Lynch, from Baltimore, Maryland, lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is a Cave Canem Fellow. He enjoys using a variety of voices, as explained in his essay, “One Migh Could Heah They Voice: Conjuring African American Dialect Poems” published in A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race (U. Georgia Press, 2015).  His doctoral dissertation at New York University explored the lives and works of Robert Hayden and Gwendolyn Brooks. His poems are in anthologies and such magazines as Crab Orchard Review, Black American Literature Forum, Gargoyle, The Saint Ann’s Review, and PLUCK!: A Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture.

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