From Another Other Within, Without

Say your body’s
life-size trip clock
starts in schlep

on the down slope.
Then the long hand
slaloms you steep

as your face tocks
the take of nine-to-five.
It’s just your timing

and mindset that’s semi-
rattled, and everyone
comes to the skit a little

pusillanimous to begin.
What is a kind of
smudgy justice:

the ancestors’ DNA
in full wig effect,
frizzy edges crimped,

oblivious to wind.
Are you really inside
that mirror slice?

Pacing over past
junkets still, a hybrid
hallucination got

stock-carded into
a being strange to be,
like that griffen

who slips so casual
onto someone else’s
map of laughing tropic

locales. Friend, look hard.
Mix. Step out. The center
bit by bit gets beiged.

You are one hundred
percent half-and-half.
In the hemi is the how.


Copyright © 2018 by Pimone Triplett. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 25, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I very much wanted the experience of the poem to be a wash of language, with many words seeming to be suggested by, or reflected off of, what comes before them. I suppose the poem is somewhat mimetic of its own notions, where history and heritage are odd glints coming at the waiting consciousness rather than originating from it, like reflections rather than sources of light. I’d been thinking about the narratives, or shaped histories, that are in place long before any individual’s arrival on the scene. And I wondered in this particular poem how the self’s formation might be intensified (or thwarted?) by the accidents, or destinies, of a mixed-race heritage (or at least, a sense that one’s parents, in my case, come from very different cultural zones). Then, I wound up adding how one’s inner life is also made contingent by our various life stages. The poem ends on a more assertive note, a kind of mini-manifesto that wobbles, I hope, between sincerity and tongue-in-cheek.”
—Pimone Triplett