Tony Medina

Two Poems

Deep Sea Blues

I kept walking toward the sea
Until I couldn’t see
Said I kept walking into the sea
Until I couldn’t see

The sea must’ve put a spell on me
Cause it lulled me
In its arms
Like I was its baby

Said the sea put a spell on me
Rocking me
In its arms
As if it was kin to me

Now don’t get me wrong
I wasn’t thirsty, hot, or in need of a bath
Said I wasn’t thirsty, I wasn’t hot
Or in need of a saltwater bath

I carried my heart in a bucket
And my tears in a flask
Said I carried my heart in a bucket
And my tears in a Muscatel flask

The day I barged in the boss’ office
Demanding he give me a raise
The time I walked in my boss’ office
Asking him to up my pay

Only to find my wife on his lap
And they with nothing to say
Said I found my old lady on his desk
And they didn’t stop to say

A damn thing before I went postal
And blew them both away
Said I capped off a few buck-shots
And sent their blood a-spray

Then headed out to the sea
To wash their blood away
I headed out to the deep blue sea
Washing away that memory

Living room and view of dining room of the Sterling A. Brown house. Note the photo of Brown by the book case. Photo by Margaret Corum.

At Copeland’s

A cigarette dangles from your mouth
like a flag at half staff, the
brim of a black felt hat held
close, clutched in fingers’ sweaty
grip, above the open mouth wail
of a hungry grave. Ashes to
ashes, dust to dust. A wooden box
lowered into six feet of stone
cold throat. Death’s esophagus
waits patiently for box & bone
like holy communion, like a dog
bored with what’s in its pail.
Knows no prayer could interrupt
the hands lowering such precious cargo
into the dank dusty lair. Knows
the fill & hull of this ship could
not reverse its course from prayer’s
passage. A limp avalanche of ash
makes its way through the soil tossed
on the flat blank face of
coffin’s indifferent stare. Somewhere
in there something is


Tony Medina is Professor of Creative Writing at Howard University. Two-time winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People for I and I, Bob Marley (Lee & Low, 2009) and DeShawn Days (Lee & Low, 2001), he is the author of a number of books for adults and young people, including I Am Alfonso Jones (Tu Books, 2017), Broke Baroque (2Leaf Press, 2013), The President Looks Like Me & Other Poems (Just Us Books, 2013), An Onion of Wars (Third World Press, 2012), Broke on Ice (Willow Books, 2011), and My Old Man Was Always on the Lam (NYQ Books, 2010). He recently received the Langston Hughes Society Award from the College Language Association (CLA) and the first African Voices Literary Award. To read more by this author: Tony Medina: Plan B Press Issue