Basquiat, late 20th century, acrylic, oilstick and paper collage on canvas
Loss is not something
worth worrying over, if
truly loss
•                                                                                        is the song
So we see here this
river making away
itself, perverting                                                                           we’ve always known
to its many tangents—
Are not sad
The genius might be
to remain unfound,                                                                        Mississippi
outside the reach of the West,                                                                    Mississippi
for as long as one can . . .
Maybe the river is a boy                                                               This
ankle-deep in the mud,
his face arced over                                                                                  is the song
the water brown enough
so that he saw himself
Who was designed a slave,
beast of burden, he says
he was—that his blood and sweat, oh
every inch is                                                                                          Finally
this republican land
The genius might be
that he was still unsatisfied,                                            we’ve reached
would not be set—
but lay there in the middle of things,
So he’s been sinking then
this whole time, his whole                                               the end
body consumed
by that mud—till what remained: a figure, 
the singing, singular head . . .
                                                                                                                of narrative