THREE MODES OF HISTORY AND CULTURE
Chalk mark sex of the nation, on walls we drummers
as cathedrals. Cathedra, in a churning meat milk.
Women glide through looking for telephones. Maps
and are mothers and their daughters listening to
music teachers. From heavy beginnings. Plantations,
America, as speech, and a common emptiness. Songs knocking
inside old women's faces. Knocking through cardboard trunks.
leaning north, catching hellfire in windows, passing through
the first ignoble cities of missouri, to illinois, and the panting
And then all ways, we go where flesh is cheap. Where factories
sit open, burning the chiefs. Make your way! Up through fog and
Make your way, and swing the general, that it come flash open
and spill the innards of that sweet thing we heard, and gave theory
Breech, bridge, and reach, to where all talk is energy. And theres
enough, for anything singular. All our lean prophets and rhythms.
we arrive and set up shacks, hole cards, Western hearts at the edge
of saying. Thriving to balance the meanness of particular skies.
of madmen and giants.
Brick songs. Shoe songs. Chants of open weariness.
Knife wiggle early evenings of the wet mouth. Tongue
dance midnight, any season shakes our house. Don't
tear my clothes! To doubt the balance of misery
ripping meat hug shuffle fuck. The Party of Insane
Hope, I've come from there too. Where the dead told lies
about clever social justice. Burning coffins voted
and staggered through cold white streets listening
to Willkie or Wallace or Dewey through the dead face
of Lincoln. Come from there, and belched it out.
I think about a time when I will be relaxed.
When flames and non-specific passion wear themselves
away. And my eyes and hands and mind can turn
and soften, and my songs will be softer
and lightly weight the air.
- LeRoi Jones, c. 1961