Letter on Alladat

            O these bonds packed with zeroes—harmony, grief, regrets. I’m done with memory. And every time I listen to your poetry, nausea becomes a river in me in which I swim naked, dispossessed.

            I’m making a fetish of everyone dead, my electrons black with heat and sound.

            O my thousand delicate microaggressions, bound up with a hunger I can never grasp. Keep me safe, erotic. Be a mirror to these movements of bourgeois frustration.

            In these wee early hours, know that it has become very hard for me to tell apart the odds on fornication from a staggering, and at times quite foolish, feeling of abjection; as such, my sex might as well have been written down in algebra columns.

            The following notes were written in prison, under forced labour, that is, in the dismal intervals and caesuras in which, to proclaim my virtue, I had to consent to being bludgeoned to death by pigs.

            I’ve yet to overcome. Indeed, I’ve been destroyed so many times my probationer, in anger and disgust, had to void each letter so as to weigh down what is meant by free on appeal.

            O my decadent counter-revolution. My beautiful mechanism. What matters most is not invention, force or calculation, but what it means to suffer the fate of failure, and to learn from it.

            (A mistake made by the struggle. As Césaire knew—only too well—modern revolt needs a black clarity of vision.)

            As for the wonder communicated by metaphor—I have spent many mornings watching a monkey open a cowrie shell.

            The scene reminds me of Landscape of a Man Killed by a Snake, but, on further reflection, the verses seem more intimately bound up with the Koran as read by Malcolm.

            We need to scribble an x on the walls of our collective resurrection. We need to let the right one in.

            (What worries me most about the absolute is that it has no depth, but is all surface.)

            To become zealous, indecent, as we bleed out at sunrise. For that is the contract. You can fuck all the rest.

Copyright © 2023 by D. S. Marriott. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 23, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.