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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: 21

 
by Nathaniel Mackey

  Next a Brazilian cut came
on Sophia picked. Paulinho's
 voice lit our way for what
    seemed eternity, 
                             minha
   primeira vez the one
                                phrase
  we caught or could understand,
    no matter it ended
soon as it'd begun. 
                            Endless
   beginning. Endless goodbye.
     Always there if not ever all
 there, staggered collapse, an
    accordion choir serenaded
                                         us,
  loquat groves hurried by
    outside. . .
 
                    It was a train
   in southern Spain we
     were on, notwithstanding
    Paulinho's "first" put one
      place atop another,
                                   brought
     Brazil in, air as much of
 it as earth, even more, an ear
   we'd have called inner unexpectedly
    out. . . Neither all in our
heads nor was the world an array
                                               less
  random than we'd have
                                    thought. . .
 It was a train outside São
   Paulo on our way to Algeciras we
  were on. . . Djbai came aboard.
    Bittabai followed. . .
                                 A train
less of thought than of quantum
  solace, quantum locale. "Quantum
   strick, bend our way," we
 begged, borne on by reflex, a
                                            train
   gotten on in Miami, long since
  gone

                          .

    Lag was our true monument.
   It was an apse we strode under,
     made of air. There inasmuch
as we exacted it, aliquant amble,
                                               crowds
    milling around on corners began
   to move, the great arrival day
      we'd heard so much about begun,
 sown even if only dug up again.

    Call it loco, lock-kneed samba. . .
Multi-track train. Disenchanted
   feet. . .
               It was the book of
 it sometimes going the wrong
   way we now read and wrote. . .
                                              Split
  script. Polyrhythmic
remit





Audio Clip
November 15, 2006
Academy of American Poets Offices
From the Academy Audio Archive



From Whatsaid Serif by Nathaniel Mackey. Copyright 1998 by Nathaniel Mackey. Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books. All rights reserved.
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