I went to the farm of retired racehorses,
listening as the guide told us of how
they’d been kept in stalls twenty-two hours per
day so they’d confuse speed with freedom
as they bolted down the track—how,
no longer able to race, they’d been
sold for slaughter, then saved
by a journalist from Boston who had
an idea: to give them these green-
brown fields, this long afternoon.
I went to the farm of retired racehorses,
I guess this could be an apology letter,
of sorts, because I’m sorry, I really am,
for stroking those sound bars into their own
sonic, semi-erotic oblivion. Giggling all the way
to the flat screens and pressing their power
buttons in pivot so that all your beats pills screamed
yes, they are still in stock. Did you know
that everything in your store can be taught
to speak with one another?
Is it the eddy that makes us include the bits
we did not want? Is it the curving hill that means
snow shapes our pathway? or just the cold black
thought that the eddying of memory never
brings back even a swallow of the days
in which I wandered and left, and jumped
off the high stones in a ravine, near our lake.
Ravine, lake, stone, eddy, all to be leapt
Hurry body hurry. My time, almost quit.
Back then he saw himself, a Black Captain Kirk
cruising the cosmos in an Afro and tight gold shirt.
When he was eighteen, he tucked the doo-wop street corners
of his neighborhood into his back pocket and traveled
where no colored man had gone before. He crossed-over into suburbia
rang doorbell after doorbell while holding his breath, waiting
plus I dissociate whenever I get the chance.
how often have men watched me
watching my fingerjoints
(how they move like unfamiliar insects)
& interpreted it as desire?
You stand behind the bar gold-downed,
long-bodied, and say Would you like a thing?
and I say Yes, I would like a red thing
And the bartender says, “Sometimes, when it’s a slow night, I think about those vacant November days, when the leaves are an ancient language on the sidewalk, a prayer to something old and blind. I think about how this joke would look, boarded up and rotting.”
And the man says, “That bad, huh?”Read More
This daily shrinking of a 28-letter alphabet
Trading غين حاء عين ضادfor the Fourteenth Amendment
Dragging inshallah by the vowels from right to left.
English no longer my second language
Nor Arabic my first.
We knew dog. We knew to love
lop ears and slow bounding after
tennis balls in the park. Wasn’t a fox
trying to trick the Three Little Pigs?
first we must arrange the burial of the dead,
what some say are arrangements for life. the body seen through police eyes
we call it mourning. the ceremony. others call it an inconvenient bus ride.
Do you man or woman? Are they afraid of the dark?
Not monsters under bed or hall closet noir, but walking
home talking loud on the phone to no one. That dark.
the 3 who had vanished from the data
as if they had risen from the ruins
and swept from their legs and chests
the cracked stone that had been chewed
by inhuman teeth.
It’s February, one of those thaws you get in the Midwest,
so she’s driving a T-top Firebird, top off and in the trunk.
The 8-track is cranked because we’re young. In our 20s.
There is a museum of feathers
in that wisdom tooth: this is the real
reason your dentist is taking it out.
The insects of his anxious fingers
pry apart sprays of raw tissue,
bare pink stalactites of your mouth.
My father was always shy
when he loved me in his way
breaking his back cementing
the cracked sidewalks of Brooklyn
surrounding her, other bodies
clad in scrubs, their synchronized
motion as marvelous to me as any
miracle, as commonplace to them
as every workday.
We throw our uniforms in a heap
Brush on red hot lipstick
We roll our lashes with mascara
Pinch our toes in pointed pumps
And practice how to walk.
Micah took pecans from his pockets
cracking and chewing them an impossible slew
of pecans cradled in his arms the crows roost
out here he said my father abandoned me he meant
we had the same language scuffed knees scent
Halfway through the night I still cannot explain, we saw it all—
the fractal glint of something hanging above the birches. Orange
& white & drumming. On wet knees in the open field
You can make a guide to anything by simply writing
bible after the subject. For example: the bread bible,
the car owner’s bible, the dog owner’s bible, the fairy
bible, the bible of biblical figures, the bible of