If Into Love The Image Burdens

Gordon Parks Rally
Gordon Parks, Black Muslim Rally, Harlem, 1963


If Into Love The Image Burdens

by Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka



The front of the head

is the scarred cranium. The daisy

night, alone with its mills. Grumbling

through history, with its nest

of sorrow. I felt lost

and alone. The windows

sat on the street and smoked

in dangling winter. To autumn

from spring, summer’s questions

paths, present to the head

and fingers. The shelf. The

rainbow. Cold knuckles rub against

a window. The rug. The flame. A woman

kneels against the sill. Each figure

halves silence. Each equation

sprinkles light.


Grey hats and eyes

for the photographed

trees. Grey stones and limbs

and a herd of me’s.


Past, perfect.


Each correct color

not in nature, makes

us weep. Each inexpressible

idea. The fog lifts. The fog

lifts. Now falls. The fog



And nothing is done, or complete. No person

loved, or made better or beautiful. Came here

lied to, leave


the same. Dead boned talk

of history. Grandfathers skid

down a ramp of the night. Flame

for his talk, if it twists

like light on leaves.


Out past the fingers.

Out past the eyes.



Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka, The Dead Lecturer, Grove Press, 1964