tonk and waterfront, black line fade, unbuilt hotel, that union hall

By Fred Moten Fred Moten
the archive dance of

frank gehry crumples

to the sky its finger
and walking bridge.
the mummers disappear
my city sounds.
dance crumples to

the archive sky of fela.

the breaking public crush
a lot and pilgrimage from

greenville (to farmville) to ruleville up the road.
let me place Mrs. Hamer, who

crush like an architect outside, like

broke composition, in parchman.
lula and helena strayed
to the dock, founded the hiding

republic of the westside trucks to come

(inland curving bridge, endless
waterways) dragged the
repeating public folds

into the open work we made, unembarrassed

with children, out of the expanse’s closed walls
from Béère’s market to black saturday, loved by

old hands, the breaking law of movement
of farms like wagon wheels to christopher

street and dim lights on the edge
of abeokuta, mississippi, damn.

“we may not have a home
to call our own
but we’re gonna make it”

Fred Moten, “tonk and waterfront, black line fade, unbuilt hotel, that union hall” from hughsons tavern. Copyright © 2008 by Fred Moten. Reprinted by permission of Leon Works.

Source: hughson’s tavern (Leon Works, 2008)

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Poet Fred Moten

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Architecture & Design, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Biography

Fred Moten lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he teaches English and African and African American Studies at Duke University. He is author of Arkansas (Pressed Wafer), In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (University of Minnesota Press), I ran from it but was still in it. (Cusp Books), Hughson’s Tavern (Leon Works) and B Jenkins (Duke University Press).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Architecture & Design, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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