Thursday, May 29, 2014

Violent Excruciating Beauty

And I shouldn't be able to hear you breathe or think redeemer's thoughts to any invisible ally. You're charming. I'm finally capable of flirting with a soldier whose both hands around my neck at a party, out in public, sensuous or fractured, playful or drastic, are exactly there, a skilled bashfulness, if I tell you I'd have to ... in quick-pivoting gasps   that immaculate manhood  


Shame is a disaster    the  tabloid blurts out divorces in every grocery store check-out line and no one cries shotgun until the casualties are read by ghosts in the      that again    machine   that immaculate     mashing  of silence  with meaning        we stood in between for a while   radicalized into abstractions     Delicate hostage situation  Angela Davis    Sam Cooke         isn't Africa beautiful like Tennessee, Mandrill, reading aloud in prison        I shall be    /   released    Tupac   crying over Dolphy's sheet music    bluejays circling clockwise  peacock gardens           and dissatisfaction that always felt safe     because our people are starving    and the waif became the head nigga in charge


This started out as a love song so true it almost forgot itself. Hot grits fell from the sky surface like windows and turned Al Green into an accidental gospel and  we convinced all the squeals into a sculpture together, your hands around my neck at a fanatical party, recklessly tender while I cradle the radio like a subtlety, Sun Ra in Egypt and Italy at the same seam  / troubless chocolate sugar baby       being consumed   by exaltation


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My two families

Sorrow isn't elegant. I heard West Africans used to fast from speaking at all when they felt the rose of it come alive like talisman and medicine in them. Now we talk over everything like the time the earth fell apart we discussed it over dinner in hell, talked about the way our flesh had met a brighter tempo than destiny itself and carry on and carrion and suburban eyes gone wild in fret --

Next I'm lounging at a country club while my father picks cotton and subtle cane and invents hymns that mimic the sound like his body dimming the sun. You hypocrite. That's a private sound and it runs out of time to find its privacy. You sugar fix, you addict acting...

Next I'm in a field of blood hunched over a bumper crop while my mother takes a magnifying glass to the emerald to make sure it's real authentic gold mine off minor pay for what you get shades of mint for the way we dressed at Minton's, for the way we felt we were egyptian in the heart/captain. You hypocrite. The gem in your kiss is an idea about who looking belongs to and who needs to be seen. I do, I do it too. I want my hand to shine like ghetto music but without the casual pain.

In the middle a cult of pole dancers is troubled by the come-down. This yellow radiance is Sunshine they chant in blameful unison, accusatory, a little funny and pathetic at the same time like any assertion of something so obvious the words crush its truth. Stage name. Slave name. Is that you? Interchangeable crucifixions. Every night we threaten to quit but we're addicted to the abuse. It would be easy to die in this fire, prying the poison rain from its embers, but useless and uninteresting like correcting someone's very desire by proving it—Father's been promoted to shooting broken horses, such is his understanding of how love punishes the receiver first, he caresses them until they feel safe and then pulls the trigger so tenderly it feels like a hug or bedtime story, tell me another. Mother's become his first/mercy. I'm watching the polls with grand-pere and jesus is a suspect in the assassination of his erotic double chanting, looks like this yellow radiance is Sunshine while we fold the ballots into miniature fine and mellow robots. No matter how incredible robotic carving is, the hand is an element that you can't get away from. In the dream in which I saw my mammy, my mammy was white, she had turned into a mistress, when she looked in the mirror her heart was still chanting : this yellow radiance is Sunshine

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Grand-Père is Dead

It's 3:30 in New York, a Wednesday. The full moon will be Scorpio tonight and the shadow goes all out to be shed by the light, yes it is 2014 and I will go to the Guggenheim at 5 O'clock to look at pictures of black bodies by Carrie Mae Weems and then for green juice and then to the gym and then I don't know the people who will love me. I walk up the drowsy street beginning to cry and have a lemonade and buy an ugly First World Problems to see what the poets in France are saying about the children in Africa these days, save all 77 and liberate them all father father can't you hear our prayer, and I go on to the post office and there's no line for once, I was just gonna send you a copy of my new essay on religion and how I came to believe in god again once I forgot his name, and that old perfect film Do the Right Thing is back in the news like an aging prophecy and I fall asleep on the train with a radio like a noose for a scarf and Otis and I just hold our phones and cry in silence, each with a secret glass of red in our no where, where are they, hearts, and I reach for the recording I made of you describing how the prison riots and orphanages you witnessed during the Korean War have nothing on the violence in today's southside Chicago, that was only 3 months ago, and I am sobbing by now, incoherent, black or white I can't remember but I thought only black men died for my sins. Are you and my father together please don't be afraid to mutter I love you to one another and embrace like in the movies and I will feel that and it will be the right thing and fire from the riot will clear our eyes of denial before it morphs into some impossible silken rainbow like the mood grasps for Saturn and at the end of the history the only scar is absence, our final duty is to disappear, privacy's last stand, and you and I and everyone will be better than rescued and saved as this train opens on its cage and all of  the fairy tales and things I heard when I was small are real and true I know, I know your secret, and I insist on being, not one of your clowns but a  

Your own hand sold you

That morning my ballad betrayed me, unfolded into ecstasy, almost never came and when it did.  I heard this vacant echo  coaxing me over the slowest gate    we fancy now    we fancy now    I started to feel too rational and celebrate myself again

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Silent Slave Auction: Solange and Jay Z on the Block

Propaganda again, God, again, Serge Gainsbourg are lyrics relevant again and forever, New York, USA—I knew I'd see the day in black and white and lazy eyed american green room green with the volume delightfully and eternally muted/scenic acoustics, when a professional rapper turned professional husband would off the Huxtable myth like a beige Cinderella's pump at midnight. Pump is an outdated way, just say stiletto or red bottom, Othello / other woman / mellow / gold-in-training for the white teeth of dainty soldiers, your soul,  I'm mad I know the terminology, I'm grateful. Midnight is an outdated fairytale grace, and niggas are outdated and dazed, my favorite Cinderella ran as fast as a savior, and made it, in that dream, and became a windmill millionaire mammy meme saying hit me again with sugar aflow in her empty bowl—I remember how it feels to want to turn a black man to dust just because some days, the heroic way what can't be articulated and isn't scorn and is only a forlorn and unkempt and contemptuous love, can be danced, choreographed in a Standard hotel elevator like the ones we take down to the lobby in broken stilettos early in the morning after a night of wine and mating, we all made it!, through, the sky is the new underground byway archive of the lies or lives wade in and waitin, and my fugitivity sleeps soundly in my fists some nights too, two shots of espresso later it's just another day, another form of courage, how playful and fable it feels to watch your own life on a silenced surveillance camera and know you never make mistakes. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Soon Forward

White men know a dignity beyond fame and only half of it is obscure to all of me. In her 1976 performance at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, having just returned to the West after two years spent living in Liberia, Nina Simone needed to deliver more than song to feel free and appreciated and true to her spotlight. She began by playing the piano while and singing Little Girl Blue, replacing unhappy with liberated in the lyrics, the unhappy little girl blue became the liberated little girl blue, mood notwithstanding. Advancement. Nina had gone to Liberia and figured out everything that had been bothering her, she explained, and she was now capable of dancing naked with in a stark white mask and banishing irony from her trance state and locating the difference between paranoia and clairvoyance in that ban, but here she was in France again, performing for a mostly white audience, alternating between jazz and classical piano, between crooning and curtsying with her voice, when the need to get up and dance became paramount to all that. And so she rose, announced her plan and was greeted with cheers and excitement and only a mild degree of skepticism which she recognized and named, I don't know, we'll see what happens, it's getting weird in here, but I'm stone ready for you, a disarmingly honest threat. And then the drums shifted from tinny and brusk to a sensual wooden hollow, percussion came, and she got low in her knee-length black cotton halter dress, bowed and hissed in celebration of the revamped mood, and began to improvise in basic West African dance form, torso see-sawing like the sea itself, knees slightly bent like a birth could occur in the middle of a leap forward, and she lit up, high on her own riotous transformation. Identity is what had bothering her before Liberia. She was neither Bach nor Billie Holiday, neither entirely militant nor entirely romantic, she was an unplanned anomaly in black entertainment, discovered by white yuppie college kids in Atlantic City, where she played during summers to cover her tuition at Juilliard, where she was studying to be a concert pianist. One fated night the club owner walked over to he and said, girl you better sing. White patrons weren't accustomed to seeing black performers play classical music, she was being paid to create a sultry atmosphere that sold drinks, not to be a prodigy on her own terms. Jim Crow and Jane Crow go so far to be close. When she agreed to sing that night, her identity was reformed by the audience's opinion, before she had a chance to decide what kind of queen she was, she was turned into a 'colored' entertainer, at our service, playing the hits when we craved them. Liberia taught her a new relationship with spectacle, taught her that the audience is a myth, that in a respectful theater we are all participants and the rituals are interdependent and the urge to switch from song to dance and back need not be announced or warned of or discussed at all. But the most information about that night on stage at Monteaux is packed into the final gestures, when she's done dancing and returns to the piano for a few more bars of Sinnerman, no singing, before exiting centerstage. The mood is accomplished and dejected at the same time. She danced for them and her sacred and liberated ritual became the same kind of spectacle singing for the college kids in Atlantic City had been so many years ago, because she was a black woman virtually alone on stage clearly dancing to fulfill her own needs. This was not Beyoncé or Michael Jackson up there having neurotically planned and perfected every riff, this was Nina Simone wanting to purge her spirit of Europe while on stage in Europe and it left her perplexed, violated, somewhere between liberated and blue all over again. Never argue with the Blues, the Western world proves to us, the rules of our suffering will be insinuated far beyond their being technically outrun. What's wrong is that we are allowed to watch sitting down, analyzing, that no lesson on this side of the planet has taught us how to stand up and dance with her and exit centerstage when it gets weird or it's time for something more personal or less. To watch this footage is to feel her trying to figure out how her rebellion turned into a sorrow as she leaves the stage glistening and straight faced while the band fades out to the tune of My Baby Just Cares for Me.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Limbo is said to have started in the holds of the slave ships

Limbo is said to have started in the holds of the spaceships
That was a misprint
The dance with the ropes and shims , that banter between my nerve and my raw cold heart
That's diasporic consciousness
A way of overcoming / severance

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fetish objects will fight you

I finally have it in me to listen to Bessie Smith and Mahalia Jackson on a Saturday without an air of research tainting my heart. I'm so arrogant it works in every direction as a kind of innocence. Arrogance becomes innocence in me. It should be both easier and harder to cry this well, shame shouldn't arrive to replace ignorance without some kind of blaring recognition to mediate between them. I looked down at the display window because I'm in Starbucks, listening through headphones, the literal is stealing my nomadic language from its ambient wasteland and be glad, an album called The Heist by a famous white rapper and some plastic food named things like brownie and dark chocolate and I don't exactly blame my subconscious for re-naming the patterns that survive in it and access is trite.  I think of Bessie Smith's Backwater Blues as a kind of inverse middle passage universe I finally made it  far enough past and through, to enjoy, a fantasized entrapment wherein a flood could save us from being kidnapped by those sophisticated bandits but then I'd be impossible and the truth is over. (looking) us.  I'm in love with a man who can't remember how he got here until he hears my departing prayer, that's what she's saying behind that water, beneath its awful softness a dagger, she's paralyzed by her own prophetic jive on a J'ouvert style morning clay bent into upper nile alive in the coal, cold as a rival who disappears into the chorus, the shy curtain blues, the why come blues, the welcome home. 

Simple Nigga Syndrome (A ballad)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Small Bullet

Life with a father is overrated. I find myself petting rose petals that turn out to be puddles of his summer blood that turn out to be mirrors that turn out to be built-in, that turn out to love me, that turn out to love him more when he's disappeared/ He squeezes his consciousness into tabloid headlines: Bebop millionaire in trouble, Nigger music revival shocks God into halting to apocalypse, Your mama's black eye gives whites the blues, Blacks Only Jazz Festival outrages no one, Small bullet, big drum, Tony Williams fakes heart failure claiming he was tired of y'all, Rapper moves to South Africa, declares he's never coming back, Small bullet punctures shop window, riots erupt, Watts is gone, again, Runaway fathers discovered at a refugee camp in Tennessee, undisclosed location—I find myself petting rose petals that turn out to be broken microphones dangling from the museum wall that turns out to collapse into a drum set on display in an installation called Fake Church where a bunch of us decked out in club gear confess our sins to one another over cocktails and jest, it's getting better than right and wrong in our wrecked imaginations. Mo' God, less religion. ™

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Repeating Myself (feigned apathy)

If privacy is dead then intimacy is dead

Privacy is dead and Intimacy is dead

If intimacy is dead then why do I still lick envelopes in earnest, wanting this to go somewhere and be read aloud while a soft tear smudges the type

If privacy is dead why are we laced with dopey lies and angular honesty

If privacy is dead then lies are dead

If lies are dead then intimacy is dead

If intimacy is alive then intimacy is dead, I dread it so, my best skill

If intimacy is alive and dead then I'm still not getting it together and getting married and doing all that bullshit I said I would when I licked the envelope, I was high and paranoid then, everyone mistook it for eagerness

If privacy is alive and dead then I'm still not passing for white like the guy with the quieter nose and more blithe yellows, if privacy is dead then he is dead to you

If he is dead then intimacy is here to act out his absence in the nearness of his former myth to your fantasy, he lives on

If privacy is dead then show me everything you've ever experienced, but show me the feeling as substance, volunteer for your own interrogation, show up naked and in tears, ready to bleed and go hungry for your pettiest secrets, while already telling them in the squeals of reluctance, it's taboo to scream.

I'm a threat to the union because I don't believe fascism or the mock adolescence of famous men   if     privacy is dead then why not spend the entire show behind the iron curtain while a huge audience watches attentively the empty stage which is covered in rapidly blooming magnolias that wilt like opinions when you touch them and are just as supple as your true heart in the moment when terror approaches ecstasy and you look away disinterested—if you say anything enough it becomes a lie or careless or a mantra or why I get up in the morning and tie a blindfold around my eyes first thing, first gesture of awakening, ready to face the day

Monday, May 5, 2014

7 memories, 8 dreams

Infinity is nothing without its snake.

The plane stayed on the ground like a racecar

At the same moment in different states, my grandfather and I both say "I'm disgusted." for the same reason

Parades fall apart and become families

Lies fall into place and become infinity

Why's it so easy to praise the dead

and blame kills everybody softly, as the morning sunrise

I shook his hand away, it came back a baton

A little background on rain (1)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

You had to be there

It's easy to say privacy is dead but deception ain't goin no where, deception has alway been a public event in that it requires participation. I mean, women spend a lot of energy defending themselves and men spend a lot of energy protecting themselves. Both require deception. I mean protection is private and defense is public and misty eyed. I mean manhood is dead, not privacy, because a man is a private thing jammed between his gazes and his lies. They say slavery is dead but that's a private lie or euphemism for why manhood is dead, as thing / as private / as evermore. I've been trying to perceive the differences by looking scandal in its soft administrative eyes, wherein ministers of the divide between appropriate and appropriated believe that public morals can roll up on a ghost and absorb its essence and save yours if they know how to hide in the breach of locked eyes, that phantoms live on your anxieties and why would you apologize for having survived manhood. We accuse man's failure of success and that is the deepest scandal of all.

I heard a loud belligerent woman proudly defending her agony, put your hands on me again, put your hands on me again, and made my eyes into a quiet bravo as she walked out on her pimp once and for so long and he could have cried but he had his other minds to retreat to. My life is all performance, a woman admits, while her man tries to clone his scorn in pride. Something dies when your faith in that thing dies, no sooner, no later. What liberation to no longer believe a man can do anything but plan for his next life one phantom, one numb matinee fantasy at a time. What freedom, to be there before it happens since privacy tricks the imagination into holding back what satisfaction disappearance has become when it means shape shifting, being absorbed into a higher self that only scandal will recognize.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Resurrection / Jaunt

I'm back and I need to be consoled

Men keep dying and the scent of roadkill drives them through the night in the best locamotives / I can't hear myself think when you look at me like that, like I mean so much to you and nothing is more eloquent than nothing. I stole a few things from my former lives, men, ideas, symmetry, burdens, obsessions, allah, loss, gain, greed, bosshood and other neighborhoods overpopulated with soul and awe. I had to go deeper. The abyss is much older than the light. I had to eat the music, to physically eat it, to take it down into and through me. A black circular thing too large to take in but I had to take it in, to let it amount to springing forth or disintegrating into a whole. It was my turn at conditioning. It was my turn to be saved. Now I need to be consoled.

There's little in the way of public sorrow when a black man stuffs his puppet heart with stillness, it's trendy of him, part of his brand, and when he comes back the cannibals take offense and blame the devil for his talent at singing when he comes back to shine on, sinning from the first breath, if you're gonna judge, feeling some kinda way about his mothers. Why can't we just all be honest. Love is lethal because we're taught to hide it, from others, from ourselves, to turn the eternal ascetic. I no longer understand this game I'm winning one pain at a time, but I'm here and I need to be / consoled.