by Kevin Simmonds

for Paul Robeson

He unbuckled his voice to the congregation
For washing.
He unbuckled his voice to the tribunal,
They panicked.

Amen! never means the same thing
To everybody,
Even shouted out of the same
Unclosed mouth,
In the same
Molten voice.

Big black booming bloom,
A man,
Fanning the blistering rod.
His voice and us still passing through
The opened sea.

KEVIN SIMMONDS is a writer, musician and performance artist originally from New Orleans. In 2011, his debut collection, Mad for Meat (Salmon Poetry) will appear along with his edited anthology, Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion and Spirituality (Sibling Rivalry Press). He lives in San Francisco.