Is my dress appropriate?
Is my breath still fresh?
Will my underarms fail me?
What about my hair?
Should I have gotten it shaped,
is it long enough
to proclaim to one & all
my true & lasting blackness?

It’s the 7 a.m. flight.
Even the plane seems to yawn
as they test its engines
one by one in the historic fog of
San Francisco International.

The stewardesses in their
mini-skirted uniforms,
designed by some promotional committee
to make them look pretty & sexy,
look silly, look shot, look
O so American cheesecake!

There arent enough minutes
between now &: landing to
savor these ridiculous niceties:
coffee in flight, token sweetroll,
documentary voice of the pilot.
Shucks folks. . .
droning the time, temperatures,
                    altitudes, cruising speeds . . .

Dozing amidst commuters who’d fall
into deep sleep if they only knew
they were up here with a poet
trying to play his nuttiness down,
I’m on my way to interview
the great Ray Charles on assignment.

Pacific Southwest Airlines into L.A. today
— Tomorrow? Who knows? Trans-World!