Song of the Andoumboulou: 50

-ring of the well-                        


Fray was the name where we came
to next. Might've been a place,
might not've been a place but
we were there, came to it
                                             sooner
than we could se... Come to
so soon, it was a name we stuck
pins in hoping we'd stay. Stray
was all we ended up with. Spar
was another name we heard
                           it
went by... Rasp we also heard it
                                                was
called...          Came to it sooner
than we could see but soon enough
saw we were there. Some who'd
come before us called it Bray...

Sound's own principality it was, a
pocket of air flexed mouthlike,
meaning's mime and regret, a squib of
something said, so intent it
seemed. At our backs a blown
                                             conch,
bamboo flute, trapic remnant,
                                                   Lone
Coast reconnoiter come up empty
but for that,          a first, forgotten
warble trafficked in again even so,
                                             the
mango seed's reminder sent to what
end we'd eventually see...

                              We had
Come thru there before we were
told. Others claiming to be us had
come thru... The ubiquitous two lay
bound in cloth come down from on
                                                               high,
hoping it so, twist of their raiment
                                                         steep

integument, emollient feel for what
might not have been there. Head in the
clouds he'd have said of himself,
                                                         she'd
have said elsewhere, his to be above and
below, not know or say, hers to be
alibi, elegy otherwise known...

have said elsernrheren

Above and below, limbo what fabric
intervened. Limbo the bending they moved
in between. Limbo the book of
                                                      the
bent knee... Antiphonal thread
attended by thread. Keening string
by thrum, inwardness, netherness...
                                                         Violin
strings tied their hair high, limbo
the headrags they wore... The admission
of cloth that it was cover, what
was imminent out of reach,                   given
                                                            what
went for real, unreal,                                          

                           split,
silhouetted                                          
redress                                                      

More by Nathaniel Mackey

Song of the Andoumboulou: 21

  Next a Brazilian cut came
on Sophia picked. Paulinho's
 voice lit our way for what
    seemed eternity, 
                             minha
   primeira vez the one
                                phrase
  we caught or could understand,
    no matter it ended
soon as it'd begun. 
                            Endless
   beginning. Endless goodbye.
     Always there if not ever all
 there, staggered collapse, an
    accordion choir serenaded
                                         us,
  loquat groves hurried by
    outside. . .
 
                    It was a train
   in southern Spain we
     were on, notwithstanding
    Paulinho's "first" put one
      place atop another,
                                   brought
     Brazil in, air as much of
 it as earth, even more, an ear
   we'd have called inner unexpectedly
    out. . . Neither all in our
heads nor was the world an array
                                               less
  random than we'd have
                                    thought. . .
 It was a train outside São
   Paulo on our way to Algeciras we
  were on. . . Djbai came aboard.
    Bittabai followed. . .
                                 A train
less of thought than of quantum
  solace, quantum locale. "Quantum
   strick, bend our way," we
 begged, borne on by reflex, a
                                            train
   gotten on in Miami, long since
  gone

                          .

    Lag was our true monument.
   It was an apse we strode under,
     made of air. There inasmuch
as we exacted it, aliquant amble,
                                               crowds
    milling around on corners began
   to move, the great arrival day
      we'd heard so much about begun,
 sown even if only dug up again.

    Call it loco, lock-kneed samba. . .
Multi-track train. Disenchanted
   feet. . .
               It was the book of
 it sometimes going the wrong
   way we now read and wrote. . .
                                              Split
  script. Polyrhythmic
remit

Irritable Mystic

"mu" fifth part —

  His they their
we, their he
 his was but if
need be one,
                    self-
  extinguishing
I, neither sham nor
 excuse yet an
alibi, exited, 
                  out, 
                         else
the only where
 he'd be. 

              Before
the long since
  remaindered
 body, imagines
each crack, each
    crevice as it sweats
   under cloth,
                    numbed
  inarticulate
                   tongues touching
     down on love's endlessly
 warmed-over thigh. 
                             The awaited one
    she mistook him for haunts
       him, tells him in
     dreams he told 
                            him so.
       Such offense,
   but at what
      won't say, 
                     moot 
   remonstrance, 
                       no resolve if not
      not to be caught 
                             out. . .

     Abstract advance, its
    advantage unproved,
       unbelieved-in,
                            vain
     what wish would
 give. . . 
             Late eighties 
                                night
momentarily bleached by
         bomblight. Awoke,
     maybe inwardly wanted
                                       it, 
       wrestling with dreams 
                                      of the
 awaited one again. 
                            Thought
back but a moment later
        what moodier start
     to have gotten off
                                to,
       angered by that but
 begrudged it its impact
                                and
     so sits remembering,
         pretending, shrugs it
off. . . 

             Arced harp. Dark
     bent-over body. Esoteric
         sun whose boat its
                                     back
 upheld. . . 
                 Unseizably
vast underbelly of
                           light,
       limb-letting thrust. 
                                  Tread of
     hoofs. Weighted udders of
 dust. . . 
               His it their she
once they awake, 
                                 the 
       arisen one, 
                        world
           at her feet, 
                                 her feet 
       one with their 
                           rapture,
   ankledeep in damage
                                   though she 
           dances. . . 
 The slippings off
                         of her
 of their hands define
her hips, whose are
       the suns whose
                              heat
           his nights taste 
                                  of 
     and as at last he
       lies her legs loom, 
                                   naked,
 loose gown pulled from
           her, sleep 
                           turns.
And he with his 
                         postures
           cramps the air, 
                                 bent 
       lotuslike, lips
                           part kiss, 
                                           part 
         pout

Said to Have Been Heard to Say Hush

—“mu” ninety-eighth part—


Remembered moment lamenting
  its exit, the anaphylactic aria
fell away. What beauty promised or
  we projected faded, we moved
                                          on,
  not’s province the place we
now camped in… The abandoned
  ones we averred we’d someday
                                          be
fell away as well. The abandoned
  girl and boy blended in… Thought’s
province it was we pitched our tents
                                             in.
Wind wrinkled our foreheads, thought
  not’s not someday… Not made every
eye water. In our heads more than ever,
                                                    syl-
  labic beads we thumbed, not’s dread
have-without-hold we bowed down to,
  cried Cry blood, fell back… There
was a box inside my head, something
                                               men-
  acing shook it, Joe Henderson’s tenor.
Not’s woken-up-to now we backed away
  from, Little Johnnie C, “Hobo Joe”…
                                                 In-
sistent, imposed itself, beside the point.
  All of it was orphan song we chimed in
on, chided by it, charmed even so. I saw
                                                    no
light but said otherwise, lit by the thought
  of it, not-light lytic, tear between said
and saw… Light stole away, some kind
                                                of
  spell I was under. At more removes
than there was ground for, I stole away
  as well, said to have been heard to
say hush. A tiptoe ghost octet fidgeted
                                               be-
  hind us. Not was another name for
   death I was afraid and afraid my feet
  would fail, Idiot Footless, feet I did
                                               in-
deed speak with, did indeed say hush…
  A little bit of nothing, anaphylactic
rush, seen-say gone so soon we were
                                               not’s
  understudies. Whatever it was we did,
no matter what we did, whatever we did we
  did away… No one heard footsteps, no
                                                   feet
  struck the dirt. Earth beset by see-thru
sleep, transparent footprint, sleepwalk’s
  his and hers an it club of late, the aban-
doned his and hers run come… In back
                                                of
  us the ghost octet kept at it, thread on
the box and on the backs of our necks,
  hair stood on the backs of our necks.
                                                Bal-
letic, they traipsed on tiptoe, shushed all
  who stood and looked on. The sense we
were being shadowed had hold of us, the
                                                   sense
  of being had we had… They were plotting
what it was to be footless, points on a graph
  the ground had become. What it meant to
                                                       be
a tiptoe ghost we could see now, shushed
  as we were, shadowed as we were, warned
we were better off away, beside the point,
  not’s null insistence, moot… All the same,
                                                       they
   doused us all in fish powder, a rite we were
                                                           none
  the wiser
for



        ____________________

        (slogan)

  I saw no way to be wise enough. Tonal
motion made me weep. I saw no way to
  stay where I was, be where I was, what-
ever it was I was moved on, moved over,
                                                     what-
   ever it was worried what I was… So it
    was green loomed outside my window,
 drawn light in Low Forest I was wise to,
  saw thru, aroused by light’s reluctance
                                                  but
  not to be caught out, no way could I be
                                                   wise
   enough I
  knew