And here is all we’ll need: a card deck, quartets of sun people
Of the sort found in black college dormitories, some vintage
Music, indiscriminate spirits, fried chicken, some paper,
A writing utensil, and a bottomless Saturday. We should explore
The origins of a derogatory word like
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For Crying Out Loud
And I understand well now, it is beautiful
to be dumb: my tyrannical inclinations, my love
for the prodigal jocks aging from primetime
to pastime, the pixilated plain people and colored folk
with homemade signs. Cutouts, cutups, ambushes,
bushwackers. The clouds are overwhelmed
and vainglorious. MC Mnemosyne showed up
around midnight like the undetectable dew
weighing the leaves, and I was like Awww shit.
Why ain't I dead yet
like the man who wanted to be buried
with the multi-million dollar Van Gogh he bought?
(Members of The Arts League said No
because there was culture to be made into money.)
The volant statues of the aviary, the jabber-jawed
cable channels and the book in which nothing is written
but the words everyone uses to identify things
that can’t be identified. Not that I ain’t spent
the last ten years of my life refining my inner cyborg.
Interview questions included how did the DJ break his hands,
who’s gone bury the morticians who bury the dead,
And what to do about the sublime and awful music
of grade school marching bands?
Not that Neanderthals have a sense of the existential.
Me and my forty-leventh cousins lolling, and LOL-ing
like chthonic chronic smoke, like high-water suit pants
and extreme quiet. Everybody clap ya hands.
Like fit girls in fitted outfits, misfits who don’t cry enough,
who definitely don’t sob, but keep showing up sighing.
Everyone loves to identify things that have not been identified.
The rabbit hole, where ever I find it, symbolizes solitude.
So that’s exciting. And an argument can be made
on behalf of athletes, rap stars, and various other brothers
who refuse (click here for the entire video)
to wear shirts in public when one considers the beauty
of a black torso. If and when the dashiki is fashionable
again I will sport it with the aplomb of a peacock plume.
For now, I have a row of coin-sized buttons tattooed
down my chest so it looks like I mean business
when I'm naked. I know that means a lot to you.
The 2010 winner of the National Book Award in poetry, Terrance Hayes is the author of five poetry collections. He currently serves on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets.