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Our Wandering

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If they would only just beat or shoot me, but they wanted soul substance, to harbor that like that, so I could never move from this place. So they reach crackled hands inside and hold it open for raking ...    

We in a shit
rustle, the way
in ramble and camaraderie,
brown hand of whose mother
makes its smooth noise
over my mouth?

The burden of saying
some thing, a head-
nodding, and I want to be in-
side of your knowing. Who
laid their head
on the disappeared’s pillow?
 
One minute a person licks your ear,
the next, you cannot see your own white breath.

We gotta head
on over to the party way
out in Bushwick because we’re lost,

and our flesh is on fire. There’s
a man walking behind us. And growing.

This is what I tell him:
 
I am not a boy in anyone’s body.
 
I am not a black in a black body.
I will not kowtow inside your opposites.

How the world blisters you.
How hunger left you statued.
 


One falls past the lip of some black unknown, where time, they say, ends.

We got us a sugar-
mouth, a bit feeding,
walk in circles in circular rooms
built so precisely for our shapes,
hold the figure that is the body that is,
of course, me.

I stroke the feather that feeds me,
that lines my cage floor with minor luxuries,

I say “mama” in its wanting sugary mouth.

What is the difference between ash and coal,
between dark and darkened, between love
and addiction on Dekalb at 2 am, and I fall
drunk from a ruinous taxi, already ruined
from before before, the absent weight screams
into your breath, you are no good, no good ...    

The space between I and It. Lolling.

The Ibibio man was not born in his cowboy hat.
Even his throat must ache like tired teeth.
 


Look what I am holding! Not desire, but infinite multiplicity, the mouth of existence.
 
To sing the blue song of longing, its webbed feet along jungle floor. What of our mechanical arm, our off-melody? Purpose in the gathering, I know, dear self. It rains and we think, God, or we think Universe. I say, portent across the wind. When wind is wrought, whole song fallen from its lip, some black unknown, where they say, time ends. What speech into hard God breath just as night park is godless? What of a silver cube in the mouth? This is our wandering.
Source: Poetry (April 2016)

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Poetry magazine

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Our Wandering

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