Music

39

Oliver Sacks is going to die,

He tells us blithely in the New York Times.

He’s 81. His liver’s shot.

 

He’s blind in one eye

Though when both worked fine

He could still get lost in a parking lot.

 

He’s extremely famous and terribly shy.

He’s lost his leg but it's still attached.

He’s been practicing dying, Oliver Sacks.

 

He will do it well,

Politely evading heaven and hell.

Doctor Oliver Sacks, farewell.

On Antiphon Island

“mu” twenty-eighth part —

 

    On Antiphon Island they lowered

the bar and we bent back. It

 wasn't limbo we were in albeit

       we limbo'd. Everywhere we

                                                   went we

  limbo' d, legs bent, shoulder

    blades grazing the dirt,

                                         donned

andoumboulouous birth-shirts,

   sweat salting the silence

 we broke... Limbo'd so low we

Fern Hill

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs

About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,

The night above the dingle starry,

   Time let me hail and climb

Golden in the heydays of his eyes,

And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns

And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves

   Trail with daisies and barley

Down the rivers of the windfall light.

 

Sons of Orion

for Alton Sterling, Andrew Loku, Philando Castile, et al.

 

I wanna live, son. But which son are you?

   There where the rivers are made

of moonshine and the lights still wait,

 move by the music of the dealer’s bootleg CDs.

Have you left the street-side, the Rigel stage

    for another watery home?

What still lingers by blood, the bulk of wound

in your ghetto sonata? What bites the freak

off by its defiance of bandages? There may never have been

 

Blousy Guitar

Blousy guitar   I don’t want to count the beats   Hey Hey

My pen     I have bed hair in the best way    Daughter

of sunlight and air     and I’m glad you were born

on this day or put another way: that you were

 

born      Let’s be superstars    Let’s call each other “suckas”

Turn everything into writing      Lord of my Love

and eat new raw oysters with many condiments

to lord & love      to be generally great

 

The flopping flowers that die in a poem

Illegalese: Floodgate Dub

(for the Chinese maroons, British Columbia, 1999–2001)

 

if you arrive in the belly of a rusting imagination, there are grounds to

outlaw you. but Canada is a remix B-side chorus in the globalization

loop: a sampled track of “back home”-desiring, “old days”-admiring,

democracy-dreaming, racism-reaping homesickness that even

medicare can’t cure. there is no “fresh off the boat” or the plane or

the hope of consistency in foreign and foreigner policy or obduracy of

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