he’s a top, if a man ever climbed up on a horse and road off into a pinkish-orange sunset. bunch of low information voters and all you want to do is unplant last year’s forsythia. she bout to hem him up and it will be all over the news. o, to be off the chain and aimless. the boundaries between us where none are visible.
you have to blow like you don’t know everything so that the mystery is way better than the explanation. this is major tom to ground control, i’m stepping through the door.1
one of the most powerful spaces to fill sonically. why you blowin’ up my spot?
the carnage is everywhere. or damn near. a mystery climbed on top of him and rode him till he was pinkish and better off not knowing.
zero is the number of infinity. trying to economize form to go faster. might wanna jock dis. risk is the reason it proliferated.
wave of sunset with mixed greens good enough to suck up loads of CO2. waiting for that little surprise in the middle of the throat. surprise niccas! any description is loaded with ideological biases. people say ‘no one’ all the time, when actually they mean ‘no one white’. evening blossoms out of twilight. displaced into lean. six inches for the holy ghost. the trouble with interrupting myself is now i can’t find where the hell i am in memorium. the way the body moves through space in a so-called failed state. decisions, decisions. mixed not good enough with evenings alone to blossom into song without sunset. lost two teeth in the scuffle. what form of rasclaat is dis? don’t deprive the daughter of her father, no matter how tall, dark, and handsome he may appear. white cops lie disproportionately, a black cop’s calls for backup go unanswered.
take a wild guess. the blue steel waters below are still and won’t make room, so that the shimmer looks solid. to heuristically tear him a new one out the frame.
you play too much. when hypertension is more prevalent among african american women than any other group of women, there is something systematic about it. don’t live on these streets but be out here e’eryday. mapping the coming and going of light in the mind as sounds and the ideas expressed in them. a shift of emphasis cause it’s so sometimey.
is ’round there ’round there? pick your poison. every day it is anybody’s guess as to who is and who aint on the take. not really a bro’s bro. just trying to get a head start on these taxes. this just in: them whuppins cost now. in the wild 100’s, you never leave the crib without a destination.
adjectives’ll show you which way from here. keep your back queer, never ever straight. swing always emerges before meaning. converting the chasing into attracting a nicca. it’s the construction of the glimpse that he is wholly concerned with, so there is no rape or murder of trans people of color on the plane of this painting, but pain lies below the surface. do you believe in second chances? always fighting against three or four thought processes and disrupting multiple discourses. blossoms on a lemon tree in the middle of winter. unreconcile the statements.
located this tributary about a stone’s throw away from some postmodernity. you can’t turn off touch. got a way with adjectives so chances are, any second from now, bought to make you believe in a modifier. the linebreaks are having a hard time keeping up. stories are flames. choose your battles, and more importantly, your weapons wisely. were it not for the metafictional device he is connected to he wouldn’t be alive.
the butterfly effect into the domino effect ‘bout fifty-elem times. girl, you know you betta watch out. 2 a gang of non sequiturs formed like foltron just to get with ya. to have begged, borrowed, stolen and still not figured out the underlying patterns. uggah, boogah. water commenced to bubbling. it’s the devil in disguise. the night is dripping with seed and ill-gotten impulse. the drama behind the laughter. catch a bad one. swore he wudn ever gonna get sent down to sit down. soon as he got there, this boy commenced to putting it down in full effect, dominoin’ fifty-elem times shutting down the entire. caint call it. it takes a nation of millions to have any kind of perspective these days. do you want a cookie or something? that’s neither here nor there at this point in the conversation like your frenetic philharmonic.
unit_43 as a whole
general, why are we fighting? the claim to meaning unmaking in poems is itself a form of political critique. you keep knocking on the right door, and they gon’ come see ya. critical gray skies over the bluffs. to feel an immediacy with, and regard for the significant hole disease or insect is burrowing in a birch tree. that line dance in a sound factory manufacturing the materials for its own interruption. kids drinking lead-poisoned water was a bridge too far. hands up! don’t shoot. a bloodshot right eye twitching. vibing in a landscape of contradictions. a fight is always breaking out in a line interrupting the general dancing we do in the mirror. t-minus 35 seconds and counting. excuse me, but what is that bulge in your pocket, officer? what if all clients were tender as you? just imagine, all that effort put into making it look effortless.
1 David Bowie. Lyric to “Space Oddity.” Genius, 2019, https://genius.com/David-bowie-space-oddity-lyrics
2 Lauryn Hill. Lyric to “Doo Wop (That Thing)” Genius, 2020, https://genius.com/Lauryn-hill-doo-wop-that-thing-lyrics
These poems are in a prose poem form I invented called “the unit”. My intention was to create a form that could embody the feel of collective improvisation in Free Jazz with the idea of virtuoso pianist Cecil Taylor’s groundbreaking 1966 album, Unit Structures, in mind. The foundation of the form is Ron Silliman’s poetic device, the New Sentence, which relies on parataxis, polysemy/ambiguity, and non-representation (in taking concrete images and language out their contexts, stripping them of their representation). In effect, each New Sentence talks at, talks over, talks around, talks indirectly about, completely ignores, and suggests other narrative or philosophical directions from the New Sentence prior to it. This is like what the instruments are doing in Free Jazz ensemble by having a musical conversation with one another that is not bound by corresponding rhythm, or time signatures, by conventional melody, or harmonics. The rules for the form are simple: sixteen New Sentences or sixteen bars, some of the words in the first New Sentence and the 6th are combined to make up the 12th New Sentence.
makalani bandele is an Affrilachian poet. He’s received fellowships from Cave Canem Foundation, Millay Colony, and Vermont Studio Center, and is currently a candidate for the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Kentucky. bandele’s work has been published in anthologies and widely in literary journals. He is the author of hellfightin’ and under the aegis of a winged mind, awarded the 2019 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize. These poems belong to an unpublished manuscript entitled vandals of knock city.