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I once received this astonishing letter‚ a truly atrocious one‚ especially upsetting because‚ just between us‚ most of what it said happened to be true. I sent it back. It came back to me. Sparring. The fix–blue mind could operate like a fugitive. Running from what. Running to something. Grace/the front row. And when you reach it. It doesn’t exist.
I began praying in Paris. That I may not be a parody‚ that I may remain alert‚ naïve‚ piercing. I prayed from pairs of unreasonable meter‚ to where joy is sorrow unmasked. I prayed for at least ten years. Sometimes in public‚ when the brothels were full. Sometimes in Hollywood. Once upon a time they owned slaves/nowadays they rent them from the behavior of orators. I loved those men. It has nothing to do with Africa. Or a harp in the nightclub. Were you here to protect property like it was lives. Was I any of the difference? Fertile plots‚ of Storyland and rate times time spangled distance. Standards. Restrained urgency. When it finally cannot be judged it will be judged as jazz. You act like you know that insult by heart. But even that is a coincidence of the metaphysical world. It’s cool‚ I’m black too. I can hear myself swallow into the microphone when he leaves in the middle of the show. As part of the song. Maybe we did what the music did‚ it’s true. No truces. Locusts and doves‚
You were a philosopher
You were a polygamous woman
You had the courage to defend yourself
It’s always been like this
So if I had never met
anyone but you‚
I would have known which way to go
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But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.
Protests in China are shining a light not only on the country’s draconian population management but restrictions on workers everywhere.