NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Vol 17.2: Fall 2017 - Page 94

poetry By Valencia Robin Milwaukee, 1968 Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud —James Brown Bill Cosby was never my fantasy father, but he was my girlfriend Debbie’s, even before the Huxtables, even though she already had a father, back when Cosby was still driving a go-cart on his comedy albums, pretending to be Fat Albert and The Gang, which we could listen to because he never said bad words or talked about sex unless it was over our heads. No, for me it was Lorne Greene and his oldest son Adam on Bonanza, all the brothers on Big Valley, the sidekick on the Wild Wild West and once, long after I should’ve grown out of the habit, there was Lucky Luciano. I don’t remember the name of the show or the actor, but like Don Corleone he wasn’t your typical mob boss, it was about circumstances, his character perennially sad for the life he could have had, a man who wanted to be a river but for the sake of La Familia had to be a mirror or a glass of water. And do you think I cared that in real life he was a murderer and a pimp? Even now my mind misses the theater of us — him tucking me into bed, amazed at my deep kid questions or arriving just in time to watch me make the winning basket — yes, all my favorite tv daddy moments starring me, me, me! And please don’t ask why Lucky Luciano, please don’t look for the logic or the sense, just know that when I needed someone to lift me up and show me off to the moon, he was there. I was there the day black stopped being the worst thing you could call somebody. Right on 16th Street between Friebrantz and Olive. The day before, the exact same word could get you beat up or spanked, but that morning we turned on the radio and it was as if the sun had come out of the closet, as if the moon was burning her underwear. And we didn’t just stand around and watch either. Me, Michael, Sherrie, David, and Theresa — we marched up and down the street singing ourselves into brand new people, doing our part to free the nation. And when the street lights came on, I marched right up the stairs to our second floor flat still singing loud and proud, praying my mother had heard we weren’t colored anymore, kind of worried and yet no turning back, marching around and around the kitchen table, was not going to be moved \ZHHYB[YHZHZXY[[[HYZ[ݙ\]^H[\\[\\Z[\Z[]Y[Hۙ\x&YHYx&YۙHH]KYHH[YZH\[&]X\[Y˂]\