The Impalpable Brush Fire Singer

By Will Alexander b. 1948 Will Alexander
No
he is not an urn singer
nor does he carry on rapport
with negative forces within extinction

he is the brush fire singer
who projects from his heart
the sound of insidious subduction   
of blank anomaly as posture
of opaque density as ash

he
distanced from prone ventriloqual stammer   
from flesh
& habit
& drought

the performer
part poltergeist & Orisha
part broken in-cellular dove
part glance from floating Mongol bastions

where the spires are butane
where their photographic fractals are implanted with hypnosis

because he allegedly embodies
a green necrotic umber
more like a vertical flash or a farad
posing like a tempest in a human chromium palace

therefore his sound
a dazed simoom in a gauntlet
a blizzard of birds burned at the touch of old maelstroms

because he gives off the odour of storms
this universal Orisha
like a sun that falls from a compost of dimness   
out of de-productive hydrogen sums
out of lightless fissures which boil outside the planet

yes
he sings at a certain pitch
which has evolved beyond the potter’s field
beyond a tragic hummingbird’s cirrhosis
surmounting primeval flaw
surmounting fire which forms in irreplaceable disjunction

under certain formations of the zodiac he is listless   
he intones without impact
his synodic revelations no longer of the law   
of measured palpable destinations
because he sings in such a silence
that even the Rishis can’t ignore

as though
the hollow power which re-arises from nothingness   
perpetually convinces
like a vacuum which splits within the spinning arc of an   
intangible solar candle

such power can never be confusedly re-traced   
because
it adumbrates & blazes
like a glossary of suns
so that each viral drill
each forge
casts a feeling
which in-saturates a pressure
bringing to distance a hidden & elided polarity

like a subjective skill
corroded & advanced
he sings
beyond the grip of a paralytic nexus   
where blood shifts
beyond the magnet of volume
where the nerves no longer resonate   
inside an octagonal maze
stung at its source by piranhas

Will Alexander, “The Impalpable Brush Fire Singer” from Above the Human Nerve Domain (Pavement Saw Press, 1998). Copyright © 1998 by Will Alexander. Used with the permission of the author.

Source: Above the Human Nerve Domain (Pavement Saw, 1998)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Will Alexander b. 1948

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Will Alexander is a poet whom critics have not been able to categorize easily. An African-American child of the post-World War II baby boom who grew up in south central Los Angeles, he also does not fit any clichéd image of that generation's avant-garde poets. The son of a World War II veteran, Alexander was influenced by the revolutionary struggles of the Third World that first inspired his father during a military tour of the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.