Fred Moten

b jenkins

Her territory sunflower, insurgent floor time in real time in the field museum — bertha lee and her lyric ways and her urban plan. up and down the regular highway and every two-tone station, passing through to cure, for preservation to unfold it all away, she put the new thing in the open cell, one more time about the theory of who we are.

                                                             In the names away in blocks with double
                                                             names to interrupt and gather, kept dancing
                                                             in tight circles between break and secret,
                                                             vaulted with records in our basement, where
                                                             the long-haired hippies and afro-blacks all
                                                             get together across the tracks and they part                                                               everybody sown like grain and touched in

          Now the cold new reckoning is tired and you’ve been waiting for a
          preferential song. the multiplex should be in the frame like bodies in a
          house way back in the woods, fled in suspended projects like the real
          thing, posed for the midnight trill. essential shtetl of the world stage, born
          way before you was born, move the administered word by breathing, to
          hand beautiful edge around.


eric dolphy

the ironworks on alameda. thala me

diron iron urn broke down. ironman

burned the factory, alamede brurned

like powder, like brush, what chord?

brokedown dalamede aburned hard

chunks of iron ash for pavement. alama
dea twirl cold down to la steel. two screams
announced the fire on the other side
of downtown this long-ass road. I know
one time I made a dancer’s hand fly off,
foundry like powder, alamaquilladora orange
oran nogales. alamedid breakdown

is a fable, hard transfer, aleave in

nether, hard angle, low land, again,

said booker little, what corridor?


birdia mott

dairy lingers through information

then panther creek. from pine

tree to round green. the green is

round ‘causa work and wish then

slope down to that trinkle tinkle
accidental bridge. at the end of a
chute of softwood round green

curve down to the edge of some

soft, hidden water. the patches indicate
savor, the cows stay put, their backs
are the bottom of a curved frame. st. james

flattens out to miss b.c.’s little

rise and on to rison and pine bluff.
this is the beginning and end of my
trumpeter’s round trip, blue
butterfly, green round as her
smile and sound. hey mama,

check out this new


b jenkins

just so you know, no one could have told me you didn’t want to go outside. this exercises phonograph to take the receiver and call you for something we hear together, some of the same stories, some of the same things. to stretch repeat so thin it fades to various is the aim of the phone call. the phonograph is also a photograph of movement and what it bears. you found dances waiting for dancers. your silhouette is patient form. I know you can cant. I know you can make it if you try.

I’m getting along alright. I say a little prayer. mama’s baby sadie mae ms. davis’ blue and red. at the duck inn mighty lions roar. you and bobby bradford run away together. his earth tone air is b.c. marks’s pine bluff arkansas. asleep in new pajamas at the desert inn, walkin’ joe williams pieceway home to waycross, you and me against the world, every time we say goodbye, I’ll be seeing you in all the unfamiliar places where they till our long advance. this is the cluster song of our romance.

Fred Moten teaches at Duke University. These poems are from B Jenkins (Duke University Press, 2010).

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