Poetics

xii

this is not the magic of song.

i knew one day the transient nature of everything
would not matter anymore. it started with the
history of zanzibar, how it took those ledgers and
long novels to make you come. sleep would not matter anymore.
i saw the day coming. i felt it. you were under water
in a fish tank.
that yellow stone cottage does not matter anymore,
not after what they told us is ‘truth’ and what ‘is’.
yet to have had you while you still believed in something.
the weightless body inside mine like children who are
taught to fear God.
even if it meant having you immediately after your
first true lover,
when he fucked you during your period and & i
begged to clean the blood off his dick
with my tongue.
the silent gray of surgical equipment to those with no eyes,
the way the taste of the wind seemed to
suddenly change, and if our idols have no eyes then
what we did in that room is not anyone’s business. &
you preferred the company of a thief to mine.

what we have shared is a lego dynasty and kings
whose rule ended when they drifted off to sleep.
to say it began as deadwood. that makes you smile.
what if i told you the history of me you have is false,
that this mainly happened in the adverbs,
and the man in my dreams is not in fact my father
but a dead moorish idol finally courting
it’s juvenile lover? what then?
what then that you can only love an aquarist,
or a man who showers with his clothes on?
there is no such thing as the first night
only the study of the beginning of night.
you don’t know it, but i was the first person
the hospital called.
a nice indian nurse told them you could recite
my name, address and phone number, eloisa to abelard
long after the anesthesia kicked in,
that it took you the same amount as a horse might
need.
what begun as a night on a heavy shadow
ended with kojo singing the blues.
this, then, is the time i learned to fear the female
orgasm. form. & more. you will say this is violence.
we know too much of history to deny our fingers
the pleasure of cum & cadmium. traces of heavy metal
in the thing you use only with white women.
that night, instead of grief, i went to a small pub
near the bridge and bathed in black water.
old whit appeared from the water and offered me his balls
in his hands. the fantasies of headless cats cannot be ignored.
i wanted to move into the second floor
of an apartment in pewa, write my last letters to zanzibar.
i went into greater phosphene detail of the nurse’s hair.
& we are dying, you & i. this remains true as the pain moves
from your spine to mine.
here is a way out, you. a small clinic in umoja,
why is it that when i’m in your mouth,
is like feeding a homeless man?
dominion. the league of angels. chocolate cake.
these will be the only things we give freely.
that and newspaper cuttings of dysfunctional
men who kill their children and wives.

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