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Diary Splash: Poet Warrior Sleeping In The Grass

diary splash: poet warrior sleeping in the grass * (louis reyes rivera) *      By Arthur Wilson

Photograph  by: Mel Wright (c)

Diary Splash: Poet Warrior Sleeping in the Grass

June 11, 2011


 It’s a mild, warm, conspicuous day

Close to summer in Brooklyn New York

Poet Warrior Louis Reyes Rivera

Sporting a long peppered gray beard

Resembling a revered leader of a pride of lions

Lies sleeping hard,

Stretched out in the grass on Gates Street

At the Travelled Rhodes International Sculpture Garden



DAMN! Has it been almost 20 years

Since Louis and I locked truth eyes with thunder

And re-entered our Brotherhood Rhythm,

From when we stormed out of the Brooklyn Print Center

With vision blurry and blood shot eyes at day break

 In the flotsam of arts’ “yes I can!” Storms

Hustling renegade Brothers

Printed & edited Attitude Magazine,

Until the Print Center day crew punched in

Near splatters of coffee stains & debris covered floors,

Never knowing that Louis, Bernadine, and I

Like shrewd mice hiding behind kitchen walls

Had already scurried out to print a universe of words

About the power of dance against eternity bones,

While most Brooklyn families slept

Through midnight images of life’s eternal tilt & salt

  Decades later

After screams for equality let out – & screams held back

Children to rear & myriad burials to carry deep,

After accomplishments & dusted off dreams & fists stirred up

The sleeping repose of my friend is itself, a sculpture,

And more than a random inconsequential footnote

Clocking in the worn weary years he published miles of Shamal Books

When Louis, wrestled with poets to make a noise!

To make sense!

To tell the truth!

And not abandon history & culture

To make a New World

From the odds & deficit opportunities America brings

Louis Reyes Rivera

A goliath among righteous teachers

Carrying the burning crosses of our misjudgment

Warped egos, stubborn derailments of consciousness,

Negro-a-zation & self-loathing’s travail

He lies sleeping in the grass at Gates Street

  Perhaps he is dreaming paradise, backwards, out loud

Perhaps he is walking through a kaleidoscopic prism

Of his beloved homeland – Puerto Rico

Partaking in solemn libations with the ancestors,

Wise ancestors who sprint logic & myth through his tongue

With the precision of a learned surgeon

Enlightened by truths’ angels of agitation

Dressed for the unity sorely needed

In the here & now of our massive confusions,

Lifting mountains through the nourishment

Of his rice & beans strength,

To say it loud! I am…We are, still here  

Like a bulwark of destiny’s certitude

A beautiful, attentive, caring sistah

Seems to be playing the part of a sentinel

Her chair clearly blocking anyone from disturbing Louis

And stealing his sleep from silence

I ask the sistah smooth as gingerbread & moons

Was she guarding Louis sleeping in the grass

“Oh no,” she replies exploding with anticipation,

“I too am a poet waiting in hope Louis will map out

More images and testimony

As only Louis Reyes Rivera’ footsteps to soulful places can divine

  I sit. I rise. I Rise!

When informed that the seat

In which I was about to plop my bones was where Louis sat

Carefully stepping in sunshine I spin past sistah poet

Touch the Warrior Poet on his shoulder,

Louis, Louis.” The lion looks up and stretches

“Wow, Ted Wilson.” Louis replied

“No,” I say…”Its Arthur.”

Raising his eyebrows Louis places on his glasses

“It’s you! You said you would come”

The lion surrounded by love’s levitating flow

Raises himself further onto his side with his elbow,

As a rainbow backdrop of paintings & prints caress Louis

Waiting to be liberated and sold

To be carried off to someone’s home or museum

 Louis,” I say…”take your seat.”

“No, you sit there.”

Sitting on the edge of a garden wall

Louis asks for the ginger ale sitting in the grass,

He says his stomach is making war on his nerves.

I grab Louis’ hand, and we sit in comrade silence

No need to play catch up or pull strings from the past,

We cherish the moment.

Poets with no words…no masks


Mel Wright, the people’s record photographer appears

Louis, slightly more alert, drinks a few swings of ginger ale,

Turns, then reaches back and puts on his hat.

We smile and pose for a picture, and that’s that.

I feel Louis needs to escape, to rest, to recharge

To go home

I tell Louis that William is out front in the car waiting

I ask Louis would he like to go home. “Yes, let’s go.”

Moving a slow fast floatation through the garden

Moving past paintings talking Caribbean Grandeur

Louis answers more questions while gathering his wife,

Barbara, heading toward their Hancock Street Haven

Walking proudly with my friend I think to myself

It’s no coincidence Louis Reyes Rivera

Has been nick-named the Janitor of History & Poets.

Not because his knowledge or words arrive to be discarded

Or abandoned inside some dark landfill of listless & blunted memory,

‘Cause Louis’ recall, analysis & words sting, clean up…turn you around

And simultaneously drop you next to the Pride

Power & Connection one should be living in,

To Never Give UP!

Never surrendering to lies, injustice, or brutishness


 Poet Warrior sleeping in the grass

Stands, stands with his wife, Barbara

His Gilbraltar…his Underground Railroad Wing

Where both partners in Hallowed Blackness, Sing


And Louis’ poetry always demanding that we & our words

Breathe Frederick Douglas’ Command to AGITATE

Until the phoenix no longer needs to rise from the ashes

And we all can sleep in the grass

Knowing our people are not bleeding

Or posturing to be “A Brand,”

While second by second, injustice & disunity

Sinks us all into further depths of oblivion

Beneath sinking sand

Usually a diary is a spontaneous record

Of a day…a moment

Written once and then sealed.

However, for Louis Reyes Rivera

I was again compelled

To stomp my feelings across memory

And give Due Praise one mo’ time

To announce to my Brother

You no longer need to toil in the vineyard of struggle

As an Army of One

Cause Mi Amigofor You

Blessings without Measure

In the form of love arriving to stay,

And here it comes

(c)Arthur Theodore Wilson  
All rights reserved – August 9, 2011


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