Mary Poppins, Necromancer – Rudy Johnson

In the 1980s,
crack flowed from the hands
of the evil warlord Colonel Oliver North.
It trickled down like a real reign
dissolving on the hot city asphalt
in an alchemical reaction.
Cocaine liberated.
Free from its salty shackles.
Free to ravage the townships of Man.
Free samples, pay later.
Free fire order in the War on Drugs.
Free all them niggaz.
Fumes free floated,
wafting above the trees
on tree streets
and eventually
reached 17 Cherry Tree Lane,
which was no longer the Banks residence,
despite being briefly in the hands
of the banks.
Railways through Africa
had brought new tenants.
“Freeloaders,” mumbled an under-employed chimney sweep
before he was made a victim of knife crime,
cut down by dudes who couldn’t wash off the black.
This event spurred Mary Poppins,
a flighty atopos with witchy vibes,
to take the next strong wind to New York City
where she declared a Crusade against poverty and death dealing,
dealing with the death of the Old World in her own way.
She assisted Giuliani for a hot minute,
mending broken windows with sorcerous melodies.
Occasionally, she stopped to cast a
halting word
at some ski-masked youth up to no good.
Sometimes, while embracing the
she would even cast aspersions
on the ability of black mothers
to raise their children
(like another witch who Sang-
about society’s ills
from the podium of the domestic).
Her weeping and wailing
was fierce for nearly five whole years—
a mere theatrical release
of three months
in witch-time’s dilated cosmos—
and during
this period
she thought of her old friend
She remembered jumping into paintings,
dancing with
gleeful animals
and decided that the answer to her melancholia
was a new type of safari.
She walked,
and walked,
and wandered in whimsy & waltz
through Central Park,
feeding the birds for whatever an inflated tuppence is,
until she happened upon a crime
that had just happened,
according to The New York Times.
A chalk outline on the black top
was all that remained of
one dark-skinned Jermaine,
and in this moment came Mary’s revelation.
She realized that the answer
to the question of death
is life,
even if all the people seeing red don’t realize it
because they’re squinting
with scantron eyes
at a dirty test.
In a mystical jaunt,
she fell into the chalk drawing,
spiraling downward into the dead 17 year old’s world.
Her umbrella made her descent comfortable,
and she landed gingerly at a house party.
She felt initially out of place and
then strangely welcome
among fades
and dice games that aren’t Monopoly
and hip hop verses
and “Oh my”-inducing ethnic foods
that shimmied in their cookpots
like the kitchen scene in Precious
and all of this was preciously hand-painted
in 1990s Disney fashion.
She found Jermaine,
recognizing him by his soulful smile and
strawberry jam colored bullet wound,
just as the DJ was spinning up
Notorious BIG’s “You’re Nobody Til Somebody Kills You.”
She swayed to the beat,
then transformed the lyrics’ grim narrative into a hopeful one,
turning turtle
on the nigga
face down
in his own juices.
She chose
to dote on Biggie’s reference to “sycamore style.”
The room shifted
to become a landscape of trees
that only Mary could see the forest for.
Her and Jermaine danced through the environment,
avoiding dangers that took the form of
evil eyes,
crows dressed in baggy outfits,
and laughing Chernoff faces representing homicide statistics.
When a jive turkey
drawn to resemble a black gangbanger
tried to put its arm around Jermaine,
Mary hooked its neck with her umbrella,
pulling it safely off-stage.
When a murder of large crows moved in,
looking for young black men
to dash against each other in the big pitcher of Life,
Mary cocked her umbrella and aimed it at them
wearing a smile
that said
“fuck with me.”
When a tattooed black swan opened its wings,
displaying plumage and
initiation scars
for the swooning females,
Mary stepped in front of it,
opening up
with a spirited,
thoroughly improvised
rendition of the Dean Martin hit
that inspired Biggie’s track.
She sang for the year,
the laughter,
the tears, the tares—
oh boy did she hammer home the value
of finding the right
and not falling in with the
“ignoble elements”
strewn across this rare earth
like so much
crusty detritus.
And on she sang, as the night became day,
and the trees became signs bearing their colloquial names,
and the crows were displaced,
and the doves flew somewhere else,
and the two Siamese cats resting in the old oak bought laundromats.
Come dawn,
Mary was back in Central Park,
the chalk drawing was gone,
and Jermaine was back in school,
learning shit and eating free lunch.
Eating knowledge.
Eating the tiny little dollar store lollipop
that Ms. Beasman bought him
for finishing his scholastic reader quota.
A spoonful of sugar
never tasted
so good.