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No Line Ma
That it was objective to shred this river ever so misanthropic I love everybody
Going sailing low in the net next star over tar or tour card Jimmy’s tailor
dark as the spiders he raises to scarves and april it’s the end of loneliness
I fantasize about this heist the poltergeist who finally strangles the ready b l u e white
And nights alone in linen algorithms with no one but him in me punching the air hello
There is no one left to be lonely for longing is as grotesque as ever
I’m not doing that anymore it’s three AM and disappearance remedies lurking outside against the trumpet bricks you tried needing somebody by habit but
the tribe’s been emptied
There’s a slick new way to say I’m on the list every night
There’s a new entrance a fight that gasps like a prayer between dl bouncers and their true loves
Dat ass that diamond in the back actin’
I’m tempted to get to Algeria and declare you dead all casual like strangers had
But there are so many of us up in the mountains pretending we’re coming back stranger black
I want you to know I’m not coming back not for agriculture not to be blackgold for you and downriver a shredded herd of that girl
Maafa you call her
Crazy you call her
Later this century trying to win her in a raffle with a crystal candy dish and some hotel soap
Prizes like this are embarrassing
The ones you win when you couldn’t care less
Like citizens and a dozen motherless men
I keep the autumn leaves tucked between my feet like feathers or the other chromosomes
The chrome is for the color omens & for us thrush and crisp underfoot in the middle of canada that we live to tell it don’t run out of plot acting guilty for the kill you revel in privately outrun the guilt damn I hate shy bitch
Don’t you like the way I’m alive to tell it & shameless
Don’t you run the way you pronounce t r i b u n a l on a bend of contempt romantic
* * *
Harmony Holiday is a writer, dancer, archivist, and the author of four collections of poetry Negro League Baseball, Go Find Your Father/ A Famous Blues, and Hollywood Forever, and A Jazz Funeral for Uncle Tom, forthcoming. She also founded and runs Afrosonics, an archive of jazz and everyday diaspora poetics and Mythscience an imprint that reissues work from the archive. She contributed to SOS, the selected poems of Amiri Baraka, transcribing all of his poetry recorded with jazz that had yet to be released in print and exists primarily on out-of-print records. Harmony studied rhetoric at UC Berkeley and taught for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. She received her MFA from Columbia University and has received the Motherwell Prize from Fence Books, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and a NYFA fellowship. She is currently working on a book of poems called M a a f a and an accompanying collection of essays and memoir entitled, Reparations: Thieves Who Stole my Blue Days, as well as a biography of jazz singer Abbey Lincoln.
These poems are excerpted from M a a f a, a collection named after the underused word for the African holocaust, and which centers on a woman by the same name.
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