Kyle G. Dargan
OF THE SUN
.......This skin has
a deeper appetite
.......for light than most.
dark— on surface,
.......rays from a black
body. The black body that acts
.......on browns and tans. The sun's
with the equatorial spine, the
.......defining line—blue black, (further up)
.......brown, (further) high
.......Sunlight, the language
.......of melanocytes. Diglossic
skin, chromatic kin. Come
.......together reluctant collage.
72" x 96", acrylic on canvas
see more work by Eglon Daley
Having woken with thee long pool in
mind, I dressed
and met January. To honor is to walk on this day—march
with no chorus of feet. Holiday gas, holiday money
all burn in Amreica's engine. The fire, they say,
keeps us free. Red and wet:
my nose by time I've hoofed to Washington's
exclamation. Red, black and green:
A Muslim Journal I'm tossed by the horseshoe
honoring World War II. My feet fall
between the bare trees' harmony though,
divested, their parts all look same. I come
to reflect King, but my eyes pan for brown.
Correction: I come to be reflected—
multiplied by this prism of marble and water,
framed water imitating sky—what is cropped
by the pool's borders could extend ad infinitum
as we. Beyond the emulsed edges of King's
image, his dream-stance on this stone,
a rich static of negroes waxing black, turning
Afro, painfully American beneath their skin.
Turn to today where we see them as one
through nostalgia's oculus. Look back,
look same. Weren't we in sync then—in step,
steeped in names of blood? There is no struggle
coded in black marrow. There is no black
marrow simply blood and steps to spill
towards least resistance like water. History's
icy headwind fought me for this memorial
and this day's pregnant memory of merely
a blood and bone man. I win something here
even if none like me share witness. The stone's
cold bites through my denim
while beside me a father reads from chapped hands
the speech locked inside the stone's gray beauty
so his daughter may see herself in it—a moment
united before we all leave as strangers.
Station, NE DC
A baby is one less
bag you may carry.
The hustler's faded velour,
a tepid, alien hide—let him
take you home.
The NY direct, ever punctual
as it is never arriving
from anywhere. It grows
out the tarmac, wet to steaming.
"Hey poet, you got any papers?"
Shouldn't papers be laced with poems?
Some idle stiller than the coaches.
"I can't. At the department store
today, I bought a face. I owe them
this spare change."
When the busses stop,
these men will clean up
into princes, igniting night like
Montecristos kissed by razors.
The brother with the shakes
is suspicious of the bench.
He may be on to something.
The longest line: WILLIAMSBURG,
HAMPTON, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA BEACH.
Somewhere, coasts remember
the first vessel.
the beggar has a soda
and a straw.
The new shift at the ticket booth
wears a cotton phallus from her neck.
Over the p.a., she tames crowds.
Thunk—an infant Newton
jostles receivers from pay
phones' palms onto his skull.
Even against babies
there are laws.
ONE'S FOR THE MONEY
two never shows.
Three has to play the upright,
give the rhythm section a soul.
One revives a tune—
two defibrillator hands pressed to the song's
chest, chanting check in threes. No
one can tell the melody is jerry-rigged.
The two soundmen pound
the stage, three minutes 'til
curtains. One shadowy brother says
he can play the drums. Toss him two
drumsticks, he makes fire—third-degree
funk, 1000 B.C. neolithic noise, something
like that. The stage's eyelid rises: twin mic stands |
voluptuous bass | drum set in lotus position. Triangular vibe.
Any anxiousness washes away
with one wave of applause. The drums roll in.
The upright sings steady from its gut
and the DJ, scratching, turns speakers
Three sets, sweaty, one last drum solo
and the house is sold. Asked later, they'll say
organichiphopjazz. One picks
up the money.
Two never showed. Three full pockets,
fuller futures hit the road.
the legendary Fifth Dynasty Crew
GRACE ON THEE
Soon the pretty machines will want you
to touch them, to point (appoint)
another man leader. Speak a fingerprint
language to the touchscreen's plastic
membrane: "he's...the one." Like solar sails,
pretty machines need nothing tactile
to run—not a finger or brain or fear-
of-god. The pretty machines can cast their own
decisions, but want you to press and leave
grease smudges on their bloodless skin—to make
you think there's a rib in there somewhere.
You want to believe some Gepetto somewhere
knew he had ribs, knew he was unlike
the pretty machines he was crafting. Pretty
machines know there's no return to their predecessors—
those analog, beige box-bots with ballot tabs sloped
against us, suspicious as brows, and levers
that wheezed a record of every hope.
Originally from Newark, NJ, Kyle
G. Dargan is a member of American University's Creative Writing
faculty and the Managing Editor for Callaloo. His poetry and
nonfiction have appeared in Denver Quarterly, The Star
Ledger, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, and other publications.
His first collection, The Listening, won the 2003 Cave Canem
Prize and he is currently completing a second manuscript entitled A
Bouquet of Hungers.
Published in Volume 8, Number
1, Winter 2007.
To read more by this author:
Kyle Dargan: The Wartime Issue
Kyle Dargan: Langston Hughes Tribute Issue