NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Vol 17.2: Fall 2017 - Page 168

RESTORATION ODE What tends toward orbit and return, comets and melodies, robins and trash trucks restore us. What would be an arrow, a dove to pierce our hearts restore us. Restore us minutes clustered like nursing baby bats and minutes that are shards of glass. Mountains that are vapor, mice living in cathedrals, and the heft and lightness of snow restore us. One hope inside dread, “Oh what the hell” inside “I can’t” like a pearl inside a cake of soap, love in lust in loss, and the tub filled with dirt in the backyard restore us. Sunflowers, let me wait, let me please see the bridge again from my smacked-up desk on Euclid, jog by the Black Angel without begging, dream without thrashing. Let us be quick and accurate with the knife and everything that dashes restore us, salmon, shadows buzzing in the wind, wren trapped in the atrium, and all that stills at last, my friend’s cat, a pile of leaves after much practice, and ash beneath the grate, last ember winked shut restore us. And the one who comes out from the back wiping his hands on a rag, saying, “Who knows, there might be a chance.” And one more undestroyed, knocked-down nest stitched with cellophane and dental floss, one more gift to gently shake and one more guess and one more chance. Like “love in lust in loss,” the poem’s longing creates a tipping, a tangle (all cluster and shard and lightness of snow alike) toward revivifying the familiar, toward “more chance” and so, toward a de-territorialized new beginning. Young says it in The Art Of Recklessness: “The imagination in this formation is fundamentally erotic as it finds itself in perpetual and on-going mythos of orgasmic self-reformation through encounter with otherness.” Artist Robert Rauschenberg’s silkscreened boxes Carnal Clocks (1969), electronic assemblages, depicting explicit sexualized body parts and an assortment of other disparate objects, such as drainpipes and flowers, were arranged and set in motion with timed light bulbs revealing random and continuous combinations of the faint images. Like poetry’s intent toward “otherness,” to begin again, to take risks, to advert the subject matter, and to try on new unexpected association-combinations, Rauschenberg’s desire to move away from the boring image-predictability association of even something like pornography works on the body-psyche in the same way. It was the juxtaposing process of the clock telling time, not the flesh images themselves that revealed the erotic impulse. About his work, he commented, “no two people will see the same thing.” If the poet is lucky, and “words… [will] never tire of their coupling,” then no two poems/readers will reveal/see the same thing either. In E.E. Cummings’ poem, “my father moved through dooms of love,” the poet’s father moves through “griefs of joy; / praising a forehead called the moon / singing desire into begin.” There is a rendering of a new voice from which to sing. Singing a “desire into begin” makes the verb begin the new noun; now the noun, paradoxically a stopping place, withholds potential action. The lines work like a magnet for those tiny metal filings surrounding the heart’s intellect. Breath for breath, he motions us into the poem’s “octobering flame,” so we are moving with the “theys of we, / singing each new leaf out of each tree.” Despite, and though dull were all we taste as bright, bitter all utterly things sweet, maggoty minus and dumb death all we inherit, we are translated by “his song and joy so pure / a heart of star by him could steer” with the poem’s own desire, metrically marching forward “through dooms of feel” back toward love. My own libidinous adventuring (Flaubert describes a sentence as only an adventure) into language materializes from poetry’s erotic move away from the commonplace, its great inheritance where “[w]onder has no opposite and is the first of the passions” (Descartes) where trope negotiates a new sensory place for seeing. As with Shakespeare, whose original “hell-broth, boil and bubble” in our mouths drives us to cook up some of our own passion stew, here the hungry “bruised heart was pierced through the ear.” Poetry’s aural divine presence is “therefore desire” left inside and set endlessly in motion. n 83 BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE The Hand Me Down Mama told me the backstory. She put our lives in social, historical context and opened to me the door to a vast world of discovery of the past, present, and the future. “You know what ‘hand me downs’ are, don’t you?” she asked. Yes, I knew. I was the seventh child in a family of eight children: four brothers and three sisters. If the clothes of an older brother had not been worn out, they were handed down to the younger brother. I had three sisters. If they had outgrown their clothes and had not worn them out, they also were handed down to me. But it was other hand me downs Mama told me about that brought clarity to me. She told me about the hand me down pain, hand me down suspicion, hand me down fear and hand me down unhealed wounds and anger. Mama told me the man she loved, my father, had all those handed down to him in turn of the century Blocton, Alabama, where he was born and lived and was terrorized until his nineteenth year. His father, my grandfather, had escaped the death camps for former slaves set up in the Sou Ѡѕȁѡ ٥]Ȱٽ)幍ȁѕȁхٕѼ)Ѡ́ݕɔ쁉Ё)ѡȁѡ̰ͅչȁѡѡɕЁ)ѠɍѼ͡ɔɽ)ȁѼݡѕٕȁݽɬѡѕ)Ʌ́ͽ䁙ɍѡѼ)Ցݽɭѡ)5䁙ѡˊéѡȁٕ͕݅́)Ё쁅́չ)䁙ѡˊé݅́Ѽɸ)ЁѡЁݽձٔ)͡eЁ͠Ё)ѡȁɕѥݡЁѽ݅ɑ)!́ѡȁͼٕͅ܁)ɽ͔ݡɔѡ́)ѡȁ䁽ݡͭ䁅)ݽݡɔѡ䁅݅́ɕ)ѡȁеɅѥ́)ѡȸ%Ё݅́ѕɥѕ)ѡˊéѼѡѕ͡а)ȁ她Ѽɽ)ٕ͕ͥ́䁡́ѡȸ)Qɔ݅́䁽хѡ)ѽݸ́ɽٔ́ѼЁѼа)ѡ͵ѡ)͕́ѡЁ她݅)ѕͥѡаЁЁ)ѡЁٕ͕)ȸЁѡхɅѡ)Ё她ɽѡ)ѡѡɽչͥ)́ȁݡɔݡѡ)ݕɔͼ]єѽ́)ЁѼЁѡMѽѡ)ѡ́ͥͅ䁅ѥ)ɥ)ѡɅѕɽȁѡMѠ)䁙ѡȰѡɽ՝Ё́)ݹ́Ѽ )ѡѼ̸%䁡͕)ɡݔ ݼ́)ݹ)Qݸѥ)卡ͽѥݽչ́Ʌѕɽ)ѡݸ䁅)չ䁽ɑȁɕ)ЁѼЃqtЁѼq)ѡ́ѕȻt)%Ё݅́Ѽɸ܁Ѽ)ѠЁЁѡ)$ѼЁѡ)ݹ́ɔݡ$͡ɔ)ݥѠԁݡЁ́Ѽ)$ɥєѡ̸$݅́剔啅́)ݡ$ͭ䁵ѡȁѡ)ݡ丁%Ё́啅́ѕ)а́$ɥєѡ̰$她P)Ёѕ́ͱݱ)͡ѡȁ݅䁽Ё䁕̃P)$ɕ5éݽɑ́Ʌݥѡ)ɕ́䁙ѡˊéɽ啐)܁Սѥٔ)ݹ́ȁչѥ)ѽ)9ѡݕݽչ͍́)ɅѕɽȁЁ݅)eԁɸѼȁԁeЁɸѼٔͅ)͕ݡٕȁ͔ԁ)ɽѡ$Ёչх)$݅́ѕѥ䁅)ѡѥ$Ё݅эѕ))5䁹́ݕɔqݸt)$ɅɅ́ȁ䁽ѡ)QݽɭɐQ͔ݡ)́ɽѡȁݽɬ)ѥ̰ѕ̰̰̰ͥ)ѽ̰̰Ʌɽѕ̰)ѡMѽɑ́ѡЁ)ͅЁЁѡɍ́ȁɽ)ѕ́ѡյȁхեѱ)啐хєѽѡȁͽ)ѽɥ̰՝ͽѥ́ɥ)ͅɽḛݔ)ݸȁЃa)ݸٔѽ́ѽ́ɕ)ѡȃq݅э弁Ѡtq)ɐ́ͽЁt)Qѽ+qѕȁȁ͕t+qeЁՍt+q аɕљհeЁt)Qѽ+qeЁչ䁝dѽѡ)ܻ͡t+qUЁѡɅt)Qѽ+qIȰٕ䁍͕唁eЁͱ)ٕ䁝唁eЁt+q]ɬٔѥɑȁѡٕ剽)͔t+q-͕Ѽ͍)ɸͽѡ͕t)ݡѕٕȃqѕȻt)ѡЁѽѡȁݥѠ)ݸͥ%ѡ)Ё յѥȰɥՅ)ͥɽѡѽɕɽ)ɍ́ѡ Օ́)ɽѡ̸MɕЁͥ́ͅ)͡ѕÝͽѡ)݅ɕ́ɽѡȁ͔Ʌݸ݅)ȁՍ́́ѡЁ)ɑ́չ́Ѽ́)ͽѡ̸q)չ%)Yхtѡ䁍и+q$ЁݕЁɸ$Ё啐̰)хɐɕ̰ѕ́)$Ёɕɥ݅ѕɵ)]ѕɵtͅѡ)ٕх)ݥѠѡȁɕ$ѽɅ)ѡɍх́Ѽȁɕ)ȁՅɑ̰ݥѠѡѼ)ͽѡPѱ݅ѕɵ)]ѡ䁉՝ЃPݥѠѡ)ፕѥѡѡЁ݅́݅)ɥѡPݔ)ɕѽѡٕх)ѡ՝́ɕɥ݅ѕɵ)͡ѡѡх́ѡ)ɍ́ݡɔȁɽݹ)݅ѕѼᅵȁхєȁ䁽)Ёѡ]ٕȁѡ䁉՝)݅ѕɵ䁉Ց́$)͕ѥѕ̸)]啐!ȁ ɹ̰)Q5$Չэ)̸)ḛѡѡ а)ѡ ՍЁ MѠM) ݥѠȁݸ)ݽչ̰̰ȁɅѥ̰)ݔͼݸٔ)ٔѡЁݕɕ䁽)ͥѼ٥ٔ䁽́Ѽ)݅́Ѽݡѕٕȁݔձ)ѼչՍѡ Ёѕ)݅䁙ɽѡ)éѕȰ$ɽєѡͽ)!5ݸ1ٔ)=$ͭ䁵ѡȁݡ䁵)ѡȁݡ$܁ٕȁ)́ɕ݅́ͼ䰁ͼ٥и)]ݕɔ)ɡɕɅ́)ѡѠ)ձ)$ͅѡݡ$ͅ܁)䁙ѡˊéɅѥȁ)չ͡х́䁵ѡȰ)͕ٕͥѕ́ɽѡ̸)$Ёѡ́ͱ̸́)$ͅЁեѱ䁅Ё䁑͍ͬ)ɕ䁡ɥݡЁ݅́)եЁЁ݅́аՅɐ)݅эѕɕɥ)͕ȁѡЁѥ)٥ѡɥѕ́)͹́ѡЁ݅́չ)$ͅ܁ѡȁݕ̸͕$ͅ)ѡȁɕѡ̸]Ѡ܁ፕѥ̰)ٕѡɽչѽЁѼ)役ȁѡ$)Ѽхɔ͕$Ёɽѕа)䁽Ёȁɥи$)݅эݡЁ݅́ )$Ёѡɔ݅́ͽѡ$)ܰͽѡչͽѡ)$Ѽи