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Nathaniel Mackey
Nathaniel Mackey
Born in 1947 in Miami, Florida, poet and novelist Nathaniel Mackey was a Chacellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001 to 2007...
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Song of the Andoumboulou: 50

 
by Nathaniel Mackey

-ring of the well-                        


Fray was the name where we came
to next. Might've been a place,
might not've been a place but
we were there, came to it
                                             sooner
than we could se... Come to
so soon, it was a name we stuck
pins in hoping we'd stay. Stray
was all we ended up with. Spar
was another name we heard
                           it
went by... Rasp we also heard it
                                                was
called...          Came to it sooner
than we could see but soon enough
saw we were there. Some who'd
come before us called it Bray...

Sound's own principality it was, a
pocket of air flexed mouthlike,
meaning's mime and regret, a squib of
something said, so intent it
seemed. At our backs a blown
                                             conch,
bamboo flute, trapic remnant,
                                                   Lone
Coast reconnoiter come up empty
but for that,          a first, forgotten
warble trafficked in again even so,
                                             the
mango seed's reminder sent to what
end we'd eventually see...

                              We had
Come thru there before we were
told. Others claiming to be us had
come thru... The ubiquitous two lay
bound in cloth come down from on
                                                               high,
hoping it so, twist of their raiment
                                                         steep

integument, emollient feel for what
might not have been there. Head in the
clouds he'd have said of himself,
                                                         she'd
have said elsewhere, his to be above and
below, not know or say, hers to be
alibi, elegy otherwise known...

have said elsernrheren

Above and below, limbo what fabric
intervened. Limbo the bending they moved
in between. Limbo the book of
                                                      the
bent knee... Antiphonal thread
attended by thread. Keening string
by thrum, inwardness, netherness...
                                                         Violin
strings tied their hair high, limbo
the headrags they wore... The admission
of cloth that it was cover, what
was imminent out of reach,                   given
                                                            what
went for real, unreal,                                          

                           split,
silhouetted                                          
redress                                                      







"Song of the Andoumboulou: 50" from Splay Anthem by Nathaniel Mackey, copyright © 2006 by Nathaniel Mackey. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
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