Zora Neale Hurston
a poem in ten pieces with Legend
By Steve Dickison
“Anything you do we put you in sing”
1. “I could have never got out of the Police Orchestra” Getatchew Mekuria
War-songs also are a part of the repertory, war-chants, one they like to do they call this “chase after them and beat them down,” so you understand what’s coming at you when this particular music raises up its head, it’s not without agency that the players the way they’re arranged in the mathematics of this equation need to stay inviolate, unmessed with, thus not to be turned into so many items of luggage getting opened up and rifled thru, given they are travelers on the planet, have been so, even with a healthy preference there for the orchestra to maintain a steady focus, stationed at home in Harar.
The arrangement, for pep band, of farangis, on farangi instrumentation and staging, costume, delivery system, way heavy manners of stumbling-block drafted to serve the sounds, some big custodial sweepers-up told every little star in its passway how it better watch itself, watch itself watching itself, otherwise all stars get set upon by set-uponners, only listen, lead with your ear, it’s the lesson these farangis, these foreigners calling his-and-herself the Ex band make their way, each one of them, “whether s/he has made it up or s/he is only dreaming it,” otherwise how did they learn to play Ethiopian.
3. “the word changes / the moment / i write / it” William Rowe
Driven into a part of the city had only been gone past before, industrial in earlier before-time spelling vacant at present, opportunists see brightness although the skies fail to part, sun leaked thru cloud covers, lambswool undyed yellow-brown beam pouring over dampness, the day is still day out, out in it one parks the car stepping into attempted carnival subculture of costumed features, are they animating particles of speech, a vapor or sensation, sub-electric, felt being passed among practitioners as can be found to be given off by clusters of large plants, say, sequoias.
4. “what we’re trying to destroy is a method too” Masabumi Kikuchi
You come away with the sensation that the dream’s encased in gelatin, not the translucent-walled bead or bean vitamin supplements arrive in, but the soft flexible jellyfish texture, around the dream this floating nebular substance outside of which, it’s like what is outside the universe, it appears to me, that place, over there, to be noplace at all, still inside the dream you need to play the instrument, pray then how are you supposed to do this if you don’t have on the silver jacket, argento, the inmate/contestant next to you is wearing his, riveted to his charts mapped out in front of him, the inside passage to the inside song.
5. “it’s been very devastating this craving for meaning” Avital Ronell
Look at those dogs over there playing, distracted plenty by the hypersweet pitch of their waitperson’s performance-based labors, a lost hour inserting itself between witnessing these tectonic plates of foodstuffs arriving and the first fork of it touching tongue and teeth, undecipherable nuggets, how often greater than the human mouth encompassing them, cultivated somewhere beyond the horizon-line, he remembers there were gardens “in this absolute contingency of being,” with his right paw he’d begun conducting the cadences of speech, she’d had put on her the necklace of babyfist-sized amber tears.
[Previously in print publication Amerarcana No. 5, 2014, ed. Nicholas James Whittington, San Francisco, CA. ]
Steve Dickison: Four poems from my manuscript Wear You to the Ball received the 2014 BOMB Poetry Prize this September, selected by CAConrad; the fuller work was performed, twice, in collaboration with new music composer Bill Dietz. Recent writing, much of it from that work, is in print magazines Hambone, Aufgabe, Mandorla, Vanitas, Amerarcana, and Where Eagles Dare, and online at EOAGH, ONandOnScreen, Evening Will Come (The Volta) andpoeticsoflistening.blogspot.com. After some years in the East Bay, I have an apartment in San Francisco, work as Director of The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, and am teaching there and at California College of the Arts.