Why you? Why you who suddenly stands up?
After so long I wouldn’t have been surprised
that like so many ex-students your name would have faded.
Was it just because of hearing of your accidental death
I am aware of your face, sitting right there, in the front seat,
knowing that that was where you could get away with the most?
Your rude energy, the unfashionable ‘short, back and sides’ of your hair cut,
the hair Brylcreamed flat against your head.
From a family that did it hard.
In your nickname – ‘Nigger’, ‘Darky’ -the sly slur – a touch of the tar.
Out of the snub-nosed, thick-lipped moon of your face
the assaulting whiteness of your teeth. And your laugh!
That rambunctious disruptive mocking riotous infectious laugh
–a laughter that was thrown like a balloon, a beach towel, a wet rag
into the face of everything.
Anything that was even faintly tinted with bullshit you were onto
like a dog after a rabbit.
A laughter where everything else had to sit down, shut up
and take second fiddle.
Except, of course, to the silliness of your death.