A. B. Spellman is the author of From Things I Must Have Known (Coffee House Press, 2008).
April 23, 2008 New York Public Library, Mulberry Branch From the Academy Audio Archive
i will die in havana in a hurricane it will be morning, i'll be facing southwest away from the gulf, away from the storm away from home, looking to the virid hills of matanzas where the orisha rise, lifted by congueros in masks of iron, bongoseros in masks of water, timbaleros in masks of fire by all the clave that binds the rhythms of this world i'll be writing when i go, revising another hopeful survey of my life. i will die of nothing that i did but of all that i did not do i promised myself a better self than i could make & i will not forgive you will be there, complaining that i never saved you, that i left you where you live, stranded in your own green dream when you come for me come singing no dirge, but scat my eulogy in bebop code. sing that i died among gods but lived with no god & did not suffer for it. find one true poem that i made & sing it to my shade as it fades into the wind. sing it presto, in 4/4 time in the universal ghetto key of b flat i will die in havana in rhythm. tumbao montuno, guaguanco, dense strata of rhythm pulsing me away & the mother of waters will say to the saint of crossroads well, damn. he danced his way out after all
From Things I Must Have Known by A.B. Spellman. Copyright © 2008 by A.B. Spellman. Published by Coffee House Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.