NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire V. 16.1 - Page 20

18 By SHAYLA LAWSON Il Canal Grande—The Grand Canal It is as though space, cognizant here more than anyplace else of its inferiority to time, answers it with the only property time doesn’t possess: with beauty.—Joseph Brodsky (n) I am thinking about time About being in it The way a second feels more akin to the churn of a boat motor than anything that ticks Second- hand / Time is not / does not / get handed over / reused The motor guzzles up to the pace of a heart and churns white foam— time (n) the space waking behind us We steer up the canal : the moment I can’t see what’s coming / I am watching / the city / blur / along from the cabin seat of / a small yacht : their pastel smudged as if with the back of a hand I am avoiding the boat captain’s questions about the soul song mumbling the boat’s small radio:: Who is it \ American / as if skin alone should make one a goddamned r&b aficionada I am thinking about being on time The party \ I will enter \ in the same red \ dress : although I have no recollection : of this being \ the time the same \ particular evening : of Alex : of that tiny kindness he shared with the condensation of glasses and bass-emboldened 90s loud uttering from speaker boxes : the dank ( )-shaped disco / Piccolo Mondo / to be touched by a humanity and not / by hand \ to be defended : ( ) A London woman touches / my hair / my cheeks / sloshing my bare arms with her stiff pink drink [Me] a burden of small beauties I am used to possessing only in partownership You are so pretty for a black girl Alex looked indignant \ like the presence of skin & strobe shouldn’t make you / an island on a goddamned holiday excursion Non Toccare (Don’t Touch [Me]) He won’t remember this How he chastised her heavily before \ they exited together He might have lied about what followed : her sadness How she let him put his hand down her blouse while they waited for the n-line The time it took her sorrow to present an offering ( )