Academic journal article Chicago Review


Academic journal article Chicago Review


Article excerpt

when we made the middle passage didn't we

walk the waters didn't we

have the waters paved with the skulls

of our grief for each other didn't we make it

on ourselves.

when we crawled under the mason dixon

didn't we jump the fence over jordan

didn't the river re-bed behind us and

turned blood because the bloods wouldn't tell

didn't we make it to this one side on our other.

on ourselves didn't we

get put up when we went back down

home didn't we hide in each other no hotels

that we stood uppiddy a chance of gettin

shot didn't we walk

on the shadow years later of emmett children who did

didn't it make your step

higher than just to walk.

didn't the westward push opening

the country turn middle passage trying to shut

us out panicked at the plow flat and hardness

of our feet having stood on each other

didn't we open the rock like our hearts

didn't it bleed too to yield too to eat

didn't it

didn't it didn't it rain

didn't it rain

by the edge of town

north is the same as south.

by the state line

the only line is broken out ahead

by the toll.

directions make a contract on his throat.

turn to look too many and

the chicken of his head is twist off.

every where there is to come from is come here to

see his eyes stand on his neck like a top.

by cleveland the crossfire of getting north.

the underground railroad he can hear it

under the road,

and by detroit the teutonic

mask of the mother of fast death and mack

cab over engine

eats double cuts off the top of all the hills

hunting for us for it.

by albion the wind thinks itself apart to pieces,

its suburb part axes down its voices the trees,

indians that their roots drank to get big timber

bleed back bricks through windshields,

the topsoil like cornices off these buildings rains down,

the land looks like the bottom of a dry lake,

the clouds take any shape they please:

an anvil is over the gold dome of wisconsin. …

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