from “Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus”

Let us enter this again. In the context of this paragraph,
we are hurtling backward through space, toward a small
opening: I press my hand to your lip and you bite. You bite
my spine. Ben his jawline was stellar. Ben his curlicue.
His cellphone iPhone. His and everyone’s iPhone, in my hand,
on my lap, at the mezzanine. The opera is going full speed.
The soprano arrives to tell Falstaff, to tell him. I fall
from a great height onto a woman’s head. It splits and I
become the split, standing later for a portrait. The hero
of the town walks alone at night, carrying in his eye a single
feather. He wears this feather in his eye as a kind of penance.
For his bravery many men will die for many years to come

Ode to the Happy Negro Hugging the Flag in Robert Colescott’s “George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware”

I have waited all my life to find me find you
perched around my black neck in repose

songing of me in repose                   	    your black legs         	
songing of me in repose

your black legs a dangle around me      I have waited
to find you find your black toes  to find them

sundering at the base   your black toes your black toe-
nails hale and bright 	   your black feet a straddle around me

around my black waist a straddle I finding I
was born I was born who operated

in the white was born who was born
who operated in the white chapel

who found your black thighs in repose
songing to each other in repose

my chest      	    an extended black for blocks
a neighborhood song in repose

your crotch an extended black
at my neck   	  your black groin a straddle

around me in repose 	   what life what
there it is there               I had been looked at

there o lord sucked His black
thorax which spanned as a fracture
                                            spanned as I

who grow up in you there as a fracture find
your black breast o lord quiescing

atop my head your other black
breast o lord hale and bright around me o lord

a pendulum o lord to my black ear
my black ear that finds you songing

of me in repose in your stature
toppling to one side of my one side

find your black shoulders a gaping
around me    	death your body armless

around me    	death none can
skirt it in your mother's way o lord

is finding black  fingers there your black
neck is finding          	  lord is rising past

the cumulus-line an extended black
o lord is an extended black o lord

is thinking of self and thinking of self is
finding you there so that when I entered I entered
                                            	           the pulpit I entered.

Martine Syms, Incense, Sweaters, and Ice, 2017, 1:09:00

You are a human being at the club. Driving, texting. You are a nurse in Vegas and enjoyed it. Who are you? What your name is up in the bathroom? The black body routine in front of the mirror, the voice of Eartha Kitt. There’s no races, class, style, refinement, eye contact, elegance, and glamour can get you anywhere. About being an animal lover but also to hunt. In her living room, on TV, someone, a bus driver who saved someone. People eating around a body. Be more in touch with the body. The wind and body are no longer distinct. The body-mind look straight ahead when walking down the street. A voice can speak for herself. She can say no and doesn’t speak for others. How powerful people act? They erect. Powerless people make themselves small. It’s a good idea to try to come across as more powerful lol am I ever gonna see you again or just texts. You’re gonna cry when I’m gone / and it won’t be long. Since feelings are physiology I feel touched and I’m crying in the club. Keep in touch. How are people responding to you? As you change.

Fear and Loathing (Comin’ and Goin’)

                I come to party, I show up alone,
I feel the beat on my feet, and I’m soloing.
I sing sunshine hits in the club.
Sunshine hits baby. That’s just how I live, lawd—

                        And Lord was like—
I fled the scene,
done all I possibly could. The way it works is,
sunshine hits something and so, there is something.
Gradually, you become unlike that something

You used to hold.  I had held a cassette tape
in my hands, had held
a church in my hands,   
had held it with heavy hands, had felt love

Like adrenaline, to which no one in the church spoke.   
I had heard music emanating
from a cassette player, had heard it in church,      
had looked into the pastor’s eyes, had held her eyes   

In my hands, had felt her love like a fee.
                                                       Evil eyes,
everyone knows   
what your poems are about. Whatever it is
got me laughing.

Related Poems

The Wind

It to take; or was it to be unpacked?
Packed it might signify death. The wind
Death the wind calculating your lesson—
hast thou learned a thing? The name of
a thing. I am still defiant, of the presumption,
as articulated. I passed him
in his velveteen jacket worn elbows. The
enculturated elbows of Death need patches.
Do you want my job? he said, for you are brave.
And you are the one different one . . . How do
you know? In your sleep I approach you
and you breathe on me, as if I were an object,
observable malice. I mean, he said, when you
die, that’s when you can be me. Spy then thief
always the one left; but then there’s more.
I’m too wild, I say; I’m an American. Maybe
I’m leaving—for where? bankrupt in
June, lost identity, lost shortcomings.