Iain Haley Pollock

Flights & Litanies Against Delimiting the Tradition

 

To define the style of our house (Georgian, Federalist, Arts & Crafts, Shotgun, clapboard, adobe, Denver Square, Miami Modern) is to put privet hedge around it. Fence (topped with barbwire?) around it. Brick wall (topped with broken bottles?) around it. And this begs: will the gate open for you? For even "we" who wrought it?

           Here, instead, is no blueprint, no schematic, at best a line drawing in the silt, and too the mud & brick, the timber & gypsum & hide, the rubber & plastic we used:

. . . a call skyward & east, plaint & protest to our fellows, aint I a woman, proof to the theorem of our existence, our inborn intellect, our humanity, the beat (the iamb & trochee)(on the 2 & the 4) & the Beats, the aubade, the chant, the locked cell, the haiku & ghazal, sonnet & villanelle, the Ivy League, blank verse & free, mastery & deformation . . .

. . . the spoken word, funk & hair (napped & fine, hot-combed & natural . . .), the grocery store, the Gospel according to Matthew, decolonized Ghana, Conquistadors, Chapultepec, grandfolks, crows in the field, the ditches, the branches, Bronzeville, Antilles, Leeward, Windward, list & rock, packed like spoons, picket fences, the Devil, oratory & idyll, hitching Southern roads, rice & peas, Lazarus, Senegambia, on the rag, Memphis, praise songs, Jackie & Malcolm, Willie B & Rosie May . . .

. . . New England, coffle, Jews & Anti-Semites, apparitions & mercy, gin, chickens come home, nape of the neck, the midnight hour, Capitol Hill, Billie & Strayhorn, djembe (ka-doum), the mask, the rant, Steeltown, Gold Coast, scarecrow & burning bush, Great Getting Up Morning, meter & strut, outer space, outta sight, White & Filipina, sugar house & cane brake, hot grits on the soul man's back, camera obscura, Baptists & baptism (by river, by fire, by rope of a thick gauge), bulldagger & twink & homophobe . . .

. . . hymn & anthem, Oh Canada, aneurysm & birth, stag & doe, pest house, barracoon, Slim & Shine & Stagger Lee, crossroads, hydrangea, no more auction block for me, Phoebus Apollo, triflin, Ceylon, cadence, cooking pots, black locust, Dutch & The Flying Dutchman, fidelity, Picasso's Minotaur, thunder & vanitas, Tel Aviv, private first class, Korean & Chicano, glory & hallelujah . . .

. . . fish gill, juniper, starling & sparrow, ivory tower & invisible hand, toucan, Egùngùn, Gemini, Schumann, rime royal, Chrysler, lipstick, Versailles, zeppelin, Cezanne, lay down your troubles, Ursa Major, sweet potato pie, Patton (Charlie & George), the Kansas plains, Eve & the existential, Yaa Asantewa, cholera, rough seas, golden shovel, no sun to no sun, spiritual & simile, the Oracle at Delphi, Van Der Zee, the veil, Venus (of Dahomey, of Willendorf) . . .

. . . man & woman & both & once was one/now the other & neither & whatever you want to be, zydeco, ornithology, cowry, Tanner & Magritte, hardest working man, Selma, antiphony, paranoia, hoodoo, sutra, Amtrak, Morgantown, bowler hat, the geometries of Douglas, Deadwood Dick, Saturday night & Sunday morning, Bell & Howell, Inauguration Day, eunuchs, eclogues, hurricanes, Oakland, Creole, daguerreotype, emblem & fetish, Dolphy, time & space, kaleidoscope, Rosa Parks, ballroom, mud & daffodils, tercet & quatrain, conceit, lyric, Césaire, Europa, ice storm, Belle Epoque, euphony, bull terrier, holler, pocomania, volcano, epistle, Martin (Luther & King), beachhead, Tobago, Port of Spain, mothers & Mecca, fathers & cousins, cherubs, tai chi, elegy, lamentation, Tuskegee, ego & id, the Gracchi, lilac, owl, September fog, & etc., & aint no stopping & further & farther, & more & beyond, Aurora Borealis, & more & beyond, & beyond & more, & beyond & . . .

 

 

 
 

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