from Zero

When I write poems I am usually, at the same time, making videos, themselves usually unrelated to the poems and vice versa. What follows is an excerpt from a longer text concerned with the image of Kwanzaa in the media, among other things, and a video about Cicely Tyson that is both about Cicely Tyson and the gaps deliberately not filled in during a video that is, ostensibly, about Cicely Tyson.  


 

 

ZERO

Hotbox

golden

patchwork of quicksand.

Once the politic
has taken over

it’s all you can do
not to
crowd the plans
to embezzle
enough money
to start up a compound.

One time

one
time
offer

ghost in-
asmuch as

every frame
of the picture

contains two ghosts
plural

active roster
cruel joke

at the expense
of the public

more
lyrical historiography: when

he is dancing
and the music
gets good to him
when

we start dancing
and the music
starts over again in Spanish.

 

 

 

ZERO

Devil
postbellum

one geography
of simulated sex

updated fro
the middle age

middle passage.

The incomparable
Donald Goines
Donnie Simpson

darling

currency

some

charbroiled midnight
when you are
done up for nothing

drawn down
the stairs from tending
to the surface

and frequency of
commercial interruption

pauses
for breath

oily rags
piled up

like gymnastics.

Pattern framed

dump truck
Bryant Gumbel.

Tall-tale

baleful

telegram

favorite uncle

stunned into
sunning oneself

on the hour

disguised in

a braided mullet
and stove pipe

hi-top fade
like
a commercial
for McDonald’s
during Black History Month

sometimes

it feels like

the only people

that care about Kwanzaa

are McDonald’s.

The world has managed to change

or become the sole proprietor of
one kind of gumption

one brand of drums

several dozen

patents for
fondling everyone

he lays
his eyes on.

 

 

 

To describe the average number of times
you might walk into my heart you would need to divide
the amount of minutes in a day
by the number of times you frequent
this part of the Garment District
by the number of days there are
in a week

by the time
you work it out
there is
a frigidness
in her lap.

You begin to relate the Pentagon
to other experiences that have left you
feeling similarly dreary.

You go on a talk show
you appear on a panel

You talk about
colliding your interests
with her own even as the host mischaracterizes you
as having been featured in one episode
when there are other monsters

that look like you and talk like you that
have a similar backstory

 

 

 

toward

an ending done in boots

visible

extra

visible

purple

cowlick

similarly drowsy
cornrows burning in time

in as near
as much pressure
as her nightclub would allow.

In time
accepting a completely different role
as the third and last replacement
for the once and future sheriff
a role for which you are known
or most closely associated until you start to do

the impersonation of
Henry Kissinger.

The one where
dogs cease to run in
streaming
the image of past
and future wounds
from out of their mouths
youth from
out of their lungs
the bundle and vast surroundings

“cold as”

downtown

“after five”

and other descriptions

for where you now
find yourself resigned.

It is enough to think of one memory
over the course of the sport
or to court evenly
among the many lines in the mansion

each section

when it is presented

can and
often does in fact look like
the previous section the one where
plantations are simplified
to interior decoration
to say nothing of
ever feeling comfortable
with the usual sympathies, it’s all
one can do
to stay up longer

filling up on Cheetos
it’s all in the description, less in
an attendance
whether mandatory
or on the verge of mandatory
writing outside

the body

to an “empty sleeve”

to a degree

writing toward

a temporality

as in Akron

so in the flight of

your favorite birds.

Toward the day that they are steered into a pattern not unlike that
which you may have found in this very room
if you had been sitting or were fortunate enough to stand
and so come to know
more common details
over the path of its running time
and considering it later
and filling out a comment card in the lobby and writing a letter
after the fact and stylizing your entire countenance
to fit in with the group you have fallen in with since I last wrote you last fall.

 

 

 

To go into further detail

would more than delay

an already windless interior

the complications of which
are very gross

without the accompanying video

and docent accompanying the accompanying video

and the guide to aligning these concerns with your own.

 

You are better off

arriving at your own conclusions.

You take down a number to employ at a later date.

 

You purchase a dream book knowing your own low opinion
of dreams and their meanings.

You reconcile your relationship with certain information
as being important only insofar as you will have an anecdote to tell
at a dinner party at a later date.

To find the narrower of the two streets
you would have to
forget everything you’ve ever learned about reading.

To demand forgiveness :
press four then four then four
then two.

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