I believe there is a way
to tell this story.
I believe that despite
this blood inside me,
beyond this brand of all
the living I’ve had
and then never had
I believe in the wilted
powers that bleed out
from my hands upon ivory.
always among and never within
I wander. into sound I weigh
myself each finger slinging bone
to bone. each palm stuffed with
the blackwhite flash of sermons
honed from honey and smoke.
a flood of thunder anoints my head,
tattoos its tonic in my skin.
these legacies of brittle noted fluidity:
I say Texarkana, hum Sedalia,
and spit riverbeds drunk in their
history shimmering through all this
city's hammerous love of sound
with its tin ears, its alleys
full of swoon and word.
how have I chased myself here
out of syncopation with myself.
I believe in the full on cry
inside my blood my blood
weaving up into the measure
that is me atop this cauldron
of earth. I listen slow to shed
the night inside me into daylit
laurels. all like the future
I care nothing about I can see
love. clearly all the angles and lines
about it whispering my name
like a sickness it wants. like a story
grief hasn’t told yet, I believe
in the great power of what is not yet
music but believes it will be.
I am the key inside its lock
I believe in the turning of my body
in time into my prairie, absolution.
here is my body cut and skeletoned
into only what is fit for all
that lies locked. here I open into
what I was dark against the taste
of buried song whorling
out of every mouth.

Tyehimba Jess

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