Two Poems




To celebrate our event tomorrow with Nathaniel Mackey at 92Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center, we’re publishing two poems from his latest collection, Blue Fasa



—“mu” sixty-sixth part—


   If I saw myself I saw myself
stagger. To see was to be in my
  own way… Albeit to be went
     without looking, see caught
   delay, see saw possible miscue,
look-see made it so … If I saw
  myself I saw myself stumble,
   myself steady myself. Quick
     step, leg stuck, saw myself
undone. Slipped on the stairs
 begun to go up, lay flat on the
   I’d walked across … Insofar, this
was to say, as there was an I it was
  no other, of late letting go no getting
     out. I saw myself I saw, no parallel
   intruded. The voice I thought his was
      mine, no if it was me, myself my
own Mira, my own sweet Krishna,
  tongue’s tip touching my ear no one’s
                                                                      if not
   mine … Sufic, sulfitic, resinous, a thin
     wine tipped my tongue, took my
feet away. Black leggings moist with
sweat the taste of it, lost, I was no one
   Wrack Tavern wine’s bouquet unremit-
     ting, Wrack Tavern wine’s bouquet
    unmerciful, lost, I was only my own, I
flat … Less than a second I lay there. I lay
  looking up thru the ceiling. I lay looking
up at the sky. Stars were tiny pinpricks in
     the blackness the nightsky was, black
   gings wafting the light they let in, Wrack
  Tavern’s acrid bouquet … The voice I thought
     Mira’s inhered in lifted cloth, aromatic
  sweat, cloth under cloth, underness above


   Home’s near side far behind me, took
     now a new name, I-Insofar. Voice
broke, I-Insofar resounded, ground fell
      and lay at at the foot of a cliff, made,
  as it slid, what I wanted moot … Voice
    broke as all escort faded, legs I took hea-
ven to be, black leggings, drummed-up
equation of
  leg stride and starlight, legs’ lit recompense …
     It was I-Insofar’s Insofar-I, late slope
          I stood stuck on, stood if not
       stumbled, spliff-lit, metathetic
                                                               remit …
Beset by drums that were code
dreams, hair let down in the dream
  they said I dreamt, spinning wheels
     a music of sorts … Black leg-
  gings beneath her sari, said the
      gete, love’s understudy, he quipped,
    himself, love’s upstart, I said, instead …
 So the floor fell away to my right,
north I thought, umpteenth amendment
       begun to go renegade, lacktone’s
    the country I came to, coming-to
  glimpse I





    Next up we parked our bus in
     a cul-de-sac, called it a day.
Naysay’s conjure lay behind us,
  nothing stirred. Being dead
     be like this we thought …
    Sound and supplement fell
away and we as well. It was
  our time to be upset … Tales
    outrage regaled us now,
     trumped-up fire we camped
around. There was a life not
   one we were living, dreams
     lined up, we knew, no end …
    Lapsed moment not gotten
we thought utopic, thought’s

    fare now something we ran
  from, thought’s fare not
     something at all … We
    doned our book of the
       immaculate moment, book
of Our Lady’s pantied rump …
     All was anger and we were
 gry, gruff throats packed with
  dust, no such thing as we’d
 have said we


    We walked like pilgrims not-
withstanding we sat, circling
      the fire we sat around raging …
  The kingdom of the loquat

  lay around the bend, bullet
     and bomb’s day soon
done. It was all bend, we
  around and around, not
    getting around it. The logs
were loquat branches, leaves,
 quats and all … Trumped-up,
    the logs were unreal. We
   teased it out as we walked
round in circles, erstwhile
   epiphany, made-up lament,
  glimpse we got it might be only
                                                           that …
 Made-up religion was all it was,
    made-up amends, gun-glad
Church of Saint Angry, made-up
  arrest athwart the moment’s
   mise … We wept, so entropic
 it was, hands, even so, balled
   into fists. We were Nub’s
polyphonic nonsemble, clumps
   noquats in our hands as we
  sat circling, Nub’s new council




    Say-it-again said it again.
 Someone said we were in
  China. The reed orange
hovered above … We were
   fused was it fruit or the
 promise of fruit we wanted,
   concealment or display
or display of concealment,
    ever to be on the verge of
       being shown … We were
      upset something more
    could’ve had went by un-
       gotten, the one something
at all


Reprinted with permission of New Directions.