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Basie Allen
New Clippings from an Old Numerical Means

A new number for every time I don’t know what it means to be "black" A new number for every time I could’ve been anything else

 

 

 

1.
Gelatin Silver. (i am)

 

carving a swan’s contour out of silence I jumped into the muted beak

 

and blur of William Klein throat-locks unlock

 

and I sing inside the softness

 

of chrysalis kingdoms

 

 

 

 

73.
Tissue red. (i am)

 

a type of depression that patience would kill for

 

 

 

6.
Soft Velvet yellow. (i am)

 

where I sit by the rolled down window of summer and watch pedestrian life

 

Spider by like streamers twinkling in the handlebared air

 

 

 

6 1/2.
Less Soft Velvet Yellow. (i am)

 

when winter comes back, again for her throne of shivers and pejorative shawls

 

distant warmth of August like the reflection of a smile

 

from the other side of a murky cesura

 

 

 

29.
Obvious Violet. (i am)

 

poetry crumbs for my tired peoples

 

who know the barnyard rink of a dark’s cold

 

who wear sung loops above the hurtled-ash of their cheek bones

 

whose eyes— castled with sleep are cornered with the adhesive muck of dream knots

 

whose fingers are the AM excavators digging out sleep coal from eye-hole mines

 

 

 

63.
Understated Pre-Brown. (i am)

 

enflamed kiss of vellum hide widened by skin blooms

 

I have pulled every last tooth and pin every splinter of celebration lost

 

I wrap them all in fossil gauze to prevent an unraveling of my names

 

 

 

88.
Stable Green. (i am)

 

the other day a fluorescent string of subway lights swung across your eyes

 

leaving the impression of machete stained glitter wounds

 

wash

 

crush pours and sliver mush dripped into the way

 

I’ve learned to say te quiero mi moreno

 

 

 

11.
Time adjusted grey. (i am)

 

the clipped and elderly cornrows resting on the floor

 

of the black owned barber shop grey crawls of woven secrets

 

former maps knots of eye wince

 

and quilts of hand cups reminding me there’s nothing rotten

 

for the soul hunters to haunt for

 

 

 

221.
Itchy Beige. (i am)

 

Where birds sing debris songs

 

Into new nets

 

 

 

13.
Clear. (i am)

 

Who humble is and wind

 

no complaints despite having been

 

the janitor for all these years cleaning up and rearranging

 

the mess of dusk yes. in the same way

 

that evening sky has learned to clean its mouth of old clouds

 

I too have learned to rinse and spit

 

out the distractions from my days

 

 

 

13, 13.
Clear, Clear. (i am)

 

humble doubled the way trouble grows

 

the color of oppression wrap like the sprained Achilles of our culture

 

injured by the speed of all unnamable things clear, clear is the color of real danger

 

the closeness of unwanted absence hiding in the sun-sheath of day break

 

clear, clear is broken and the way hatred goes

 

clear, clear is the open apology to the bigot and blindfold