Monday, November 22, 2010

protoplasmic phrenology

this pathos-by-proxy still twitches at the mere mention
of paterollers storming the gate / neanderthals with knuckles dragging
swarming the stanza; dupes in white robes, haute-couture dunces capped
in trivial pursuits; they’ve come for the gardenias, the organza. and
the penumbra spills over every edge, haunted / daunted by a post-slavery
stress disorder that’s anything but paint-by-the-numbers.

voices told me to buckle up; that work was to be done.

but who knew i’d be the one to grow up mapping the spinal cortex
of yoruba-oblongata / talking the dead down from the ledges of ivory towers,
stalking spirit-guides on chalkboards, in chatrooms and in chapbooks always
in a state of rough-draft outlining and underlaying the pedagogy of a sun-people
told for years that melanin undermines accomplishment, merit, our seats
at the table. money changed hands, the bets placed on the crowd pleasers and
social favorites. who thought it would come down to this: me taking the witness
stand as public defender for stolen property.

the story goes i was born the son of an egun-runner and fell shadow-first
from several wombs all at once; assembled on a single line / stitched
into sorcery by the gnarled hands of an unseen seamstress, but i digress.

this poem is my mess-of-pieces and in haste i assumed you already knew
the elemental weight of sankofa. the dna of most nursery rhymes are made
of angst and atoms, but mine are composed of poro masks, the wail of tears,
robert johnson’s cigarette ash, etc. and the banana in the pocket of this poem
is a poltergeist. but i’m not a ghostbuster whispering the echos of the dead...
i’m the doorman for the dearly dormant.

it’s a tough trade. not as in demand as you would think...

i was born to translate tarbaby’s morse code into a canonical course (jes grew 101),
my dissertation was on head-lump reading. baron saturday was my first instructor,
paid me to re-edit the wiki-entry for the pot-liquor sciences. he taught me to be
everywhere you want to be. that's why i’m known as prometheus backwash on
facebook and, by luck of the drawl, i’m jujuchagalia on twitter... i’ve been told
that “upfromsumdirt” is kiswahili for “renaissance” and my signature looks like
basquiat’s long lost rorschach, my john-hancock the sonogram for a lost culture
- you should just see my cat-scan!         no shit, my medulla is a fun-house mirror.

i see saint octavia’s image on toast and tree-bark or when connecting the moles
on the back of my lover’s knee. i was hit by a marching band as a baby and that’s
why i see everything so clearly.     just didnt know i’d be the one to grow up
re-inventing a wonderland, replacing rwanda for kentucky as uncle tom’s
backdrop where cabins are shingled in soapstone and cowries.

does anyone know the trajectory for a black poet profiling himself? then again,
it’s not like i was born for recognition, my mug adorning the t-shirts on liberal
college campuses... in me is not the tradition for upholding a metered dialog;
i was born an act of reclamation... what need i for progress if the thought-process
is afraid of flames?


continue taming your lions, chasing gazelles;
i was fed the breastmilk of hyenas.

it’s my nature to alert you to aneurysm; when
i curl up at your feet, a conniption is coming.

1 comment:

  1. Great visual lyricism here in this piece.