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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, August 28, 2018.
About this Poem 

“‘The Irregular and/or Anti- and Ante- Regulative’ is drawn from a Fred Moten essay called ‘Black Kant.’ There, Moten lists sixteen categories for what he calls ‘A Natural History of Inequality.’  The categories—which range from 'the stupid' to 'the social whose life in exhaustion of the given has often been mistaken for death'—seemed to me titles for parts of a poetic series. Content-wise, I knew I wanted to write as a means of working with/through the concepts Moten’s thorny 'natural history' presents. Structurally, though, I managed to use the sequencing of the list to determine how that content would move through each piece, sentence by sentence.”
—Douglas Kearney

The Irregular and/or Anti- and Ante- Regulative

Did not but didn’t not or did not not did? Woke up 
a rando hour in that ol’ double-bind of suspicions of 
activity (didn’t not did, did not’d). No sich thang ez 
reppytishun. Didn’t not not’d no such thing as. Only 
insistence, amplification of. Rigor, please!—I’ve 
been in a steady residency studying doing sans 
getting done (-) in. When abroad for the 
conference RE: conspiratorial unsuspicious 
activity, I insisted our syncopated metrics tender 
on the International Measure Exchange. To the 
registration: “Our data tight AF, Boo-Boo; toot 
sweet with my tote bag,” my lanyard swang Jesus 
piecey as I crooked bootied to the keynote. I sat in 
the not doing of doing what I did not. By&by 
came Q&A, I Q’ed: “can self-disciplined inactivity 
be considered inactivity as the disciplining of the 
self is a praxis and—.” In come Security a rented 
roughshod, all There they are, misconjugating where 
I stood. I stayed to rephrase my Q. I believed this 
a discourse. Security fixed to quantize my “offed” 
conduct with they copse of batons. I was a present 
ruckus, recused for actively inactivating me by 
vice and versa. This collabo took the discipline to 
the next level!

Copyright © 2018 by Douglas Kearney. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 28, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Douglas Kearney. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 28, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Douglas Kearney

Douglas Kearney

Douglas Kearney is the author of  Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016).

by this poet

poem

some black women are my friends & their tears seem the hems
                           of blue dresses.   I ball un-ball
my pocketed palms
                           & think on stockings, bells.

among my students sometimes number black women—
I wish their tears were rungs;  such

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