365

Throwing off my skin for selves I quickly hate,
I have shunned all compromise and commitment
and all good fellowship, my life is time spent
in fugue from blessed time, I write around my fate.

In a new port I promptly pursue escape
in the frigid sea of failure, salty and fierce,
but then I’m saved, with scant breath and frozen tears,
by some project’s fresh embrace, warm eyes, and dry cape.

By now very sick of the feel of foreign threads
choking my sense of duty in my chest and throat,
and also tired of fake routines learned by rote,
I am desperate to forge a pathway that spreads
the open sea before me, inviting me to float
in my own flayed skin, my most seaworthy boat.

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364

I’m too sleepy to write, but let’s plunge in
to this artichoke heart lines, lime rhymes,
and vinaigrette verse stirred with a truncheon
that I took from the Law due to my crimes.

I don’t know what is happening in this life
or outside as the fall finally takes hold
of my throat as it slides its sugar knife
across my Adam’s apple, mealy and cold.

And I’m out of scarves, too, until I wash
my sweatery load, but the machine stains
the clothes from overwork; I want to cry,
but I say “Geronimo!” just like Bosch
and I dive right in, while the planet wanes,
into the pile of leaves where the brave die.

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363

My students make it rain with Uno cards,
a creative solution for the lack
of ones in a community “Spanish,” “black,”
where broken windows become broken shards.

What exactly does that mean? I don’t know
except that rupture begets more rupture
and that space for life is space for culture
“You ain’t gotta leave, but it’s time to go.”

That’s right: I’m kicking all dust to the curb
so my ashen lungs can take in the sight
of post-industrial sunrise over white flight,
where bus exhaust, Black & Milds cloak the herb.

The heavens made it rain on Sunday night.
We rupture the ruptures to set things right.

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362

Bureaucracy has forced me into shame:
sign this, print that, do not forget, submit
by hand, by mail, by god, by law, by writ:
I give up, I give in, I withdraw my formal name
from consideration of acceptance.
Let me stick to the shadows of a life
illicit and unforged by paper strife
where whims of breath inspire true contingence.

Evaluate by dint of the connection
between life and life and soul and heart and mind
and dream, against the current of red tape
shaped as reams of white paper confection
which, notarized by custom, are deadlined.

In view of all, the choice must be escape.

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361

When all the old rhymes cease to move
and the heartbeat’s leathery bark
chokes the mind from much-needed spark,
what is left for the soul to prove?

When humid downpours saturate
brown silted streets, drowning pollen
and dreams, while my lungs are swollen,
what is left in life to narrate?

There are thoughts but never the truth
lying between death and breathing
in mucous membranes of lost youth.

I now prattle my deepest sooth:
truest life is always seething
against the stream of senseless ruth.

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360

Corridors crammed with saucy self-concept
likely to spill on the linoleum
floor: “You got something to eat? Give me some.
Thanks, good looks”: we are most likely inept

Passion, patience. Green-yellow leaves fighting
off winter in this hollow hill of earth
in this anthropocenic scene where birth
is instant failure sous neon lighting

Nevertheless, I still gave them candy
quickly devoured in the punchy air
impregnable to the charms of A/C

This Halloween I’m a balmy dandy
deprived of oxygen, my lungs aware.
The world will hope that is my lone folly.

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359

If anyone out there can hear the beat
of my thickened heart inside my flooded chest,
I ask (well aware that my life was blessed)
for pity before my final defeat,

at the hands of my words, my mind, my feet,
I have failed in my task to show undressed
the hideous body that leaves oppressed
the rapturous veins whose blood I repeat.

The real shame comes from not trying enough,
and accepting thoughts hostile to my goals,
which were collective and larger than me,

a fragment of light in a musty trough
that drained to an ocean of  muddy shoals
and lies obscured to life but somehow free.

 

 

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358 (Trump Trump)

Trump Trump, trump Trump, trump Trump, trump Trump, trump Trump
dump Trump, dump Trump, dump Trump, dumb Trump, dump Trump
“You rollin’ like Trump, you get your meat lumped.”
Lump Trump, lump Trump, lump Trump, lump Trump, lump Trump:
Punk Trump, punk Trump, punk Trump, punk Trump, punk Trump
flunk Trump, flunk Trump, flunk Trump, flunk Trump, flunk Trump
Cut off the branches, all that’s left is a stump
Stump Trump, bump Trump, dunk Trump in a dump truck:
The humid air means that I cannot breathe
I saw a white supremacist on the
T. A puffed-up eagle with “WHITE PRIDE” wings
One word tattooed on each bicep.
He looked at me crazed. Of course I have no fear
Of self-sentinels. I moved on. Fuck Trump.

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A series of furtive haiku written while sitting around at a french birthday that was actually a wedding/baptism.

1

Time has really stopped
People speak of potatoes
and other cool things.

2

One leaves one’s leaves once
Return is impossible
I have one leaf left.

3

My stomach is strong
like a wild boar in summer
I am so ready.

4

Across the ocean
the waves do wave back at me
I waved at them first

5

Cimarrón: ex-slave
escaped into full freedom
I am inspired.

6

Dressage and black pants
equine pants under willow
one escapes the truth.

7

Lyrical practice
makes absolute perfect sense
in the time of God.

8

Game of Thrones is back
if I had television
I would watch all day.

9

Haiku number nine
you are mighty, mighty fine
you blow my prose mind.

10

I sit up for ten
this is the most efficient
I have ever been.

11

Je pense que ce soir
il y aura un retour
à la tente, oui oui!

12

J’aime aider les pauvres
avec mes paroles vibrantes
comme ça je suis ici.

13

Chocolate chip cookies
black excellence in da house
anyone at home?

14

This is quite absurd
I feel bad for noticing
but I do notice.

15

Dog with human face
rescue me from my blank fate
with your amber eyes.

16

Non, non, non, non, non
pas, pas, pas, pas, pas, pas, pas
French for beginners.

17

This is a good form
A good poetic structure
for singing the blues.

18

Antimodern life
we’re on the antipodes now
the black man conquers.

19

Locus amoenus
where are your savage creatures
to devour me?

20

Whatever your tastes
the seasons will always change
Live in order to.

21

How to get cable
TV when ensconced in France?
It doesn’t matter.

22

Miguel Delibes
was a great Spanish author
I have never read.

23

My funny Rudy
my funny, funny Rudy
give me some more drugs.

24

“[This is redacted
due to its personal tone]”
quoth [redacted too].

25

Collective slumber
parties enjamb my mind frame
with blankets and dust.

26

Oh, mesh case right here,
what normally goes inside
your mottled gray shape?

27

The mundanity
the mundanity of now
that’s my instagram.

28

Capitalism
or late capitalism
alpha, omega.

29

Oriental ribs
(just as Edward Said said)
we view them with lust.

30

Thirty new haiku
upon this leafy blanket
I will improve now.

31

Dog with human face
look deeply into my eyes
please try not to blink.

31

Dog with human face
thank goodness for melanin
no silly hats here!

32

The baby cries here
he is big and long and strong
I also cry here.

33

No I’m just kidding
I’m a lyrical gangsta
the world is a stage

34

The audacity
of enforced urbanity
in housing projects

35

Never been in jail
never been killed or shot at
I demand freedom
(Or: where is my freedom?)

36

In France forever
if that’s what it truly takes
to be a modern.

37

We flirt with the roles
the baby in the middle
who shall he become?

38

The grass has stained me
I crossed the ocean again
to haunt consciousness.

39

Idiot savant
as the cookie cracks in mouth
a servant does die.

40

Insularity
but France is not an island
I learn as I write.

41

A boring tableau
a different shade of orange
frames my subtle face.

42

Horrible planning
social exercises take
hold of my black neck.

43

Où est mon doudou
Je dors, je mors, et j’adore
giraffe, tu es vite.

44

Let’s get to 50
I’ll lick the happy orange
and spin on my head.

45

Abandon ship, friends
we’ve got a world to rescue
from its very self.

46

Les antimodernes –
la biografía de un
cimarrón negro.

47

Go to sleep, go home
estoy mareado, sí
bilingual seasick.

48

Black ego(t)ism
black genius, black excellence
all the same damn thing.

49

To think from within
these noble and acute eyes
is to find the truth
(Or: dog with human face).

50

I will not fall down
my purpose is to create
despite the context.

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357 (Survival Tactics)

Outside of Rennes births certainly happen
but I must escape the felicity
with a cimarrón perspective: strap in
independent thought and audacity

It’s a mental move, for we are stuck here
under the wincing willow I must sit
Lord, I could really use a nice cold beer
This sonnet is spoke straight from the pulpit

It is a beautiful life full of verve
and magic but with no “minorities”
since such people do not exist in France

What keeps me, though, is the finest romance
I have ever known – a firm, fragrant breeze
To feel its caress is to have the nerve.

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