from Mnemosyne

 

Lacrimae sanctorum:
in these little
obsidian bottles,

silver fronds of
David’s Choice: gone
odorless without

a chance to heal: the
number six that
came at last

on which I met
Antmen, who
invited me

to see his show: for
none can bear this
life alone: but

on a sabbath, recalling to
Rabbi Dev the
ruach only takes on

gender in its
adjectives &
everything merges with the

nights so fettered in their
sordid pulses after
Akande gave me an

index of metals which
asked like Lynice what
love requires:

Rivkah the
interpreter at
debrief a green tourmaline,

as matter turned it
self aware to sit through
one more fucking

meeting whose oration
blessed the
helpers of our hospitals,

who lay unclaimed on a
lonesome sward in
Oakland, where

the water fell on me,
between Raven and
Octavia who sounded

off a hymn that
had its root in
Oakland where I

heard Brooke say that
they stoke beef.  Jai said
his case was in one-oh-seven,

six Agape folks showed
up but he
wasn’t on the docket,

whether this life meant
nothing, or
everything, or something,

in Auschwitz the
Holy Hunchback for—
got the Warsaw rebbe’s

Torah, but said that
every sabbath meal be—
tween the soup & fish,

the fish & the
chicken, carnal city’s
violent consuetude:

the mortal
mush of
solemn lilies

permeated one
hundred camps of
wailing kids,

when patience delivers
volumes of sealed
nectar, within which

the ledgers of the
columbarium say
judgment on our flesh:

we sat divided
harking the last
trump, before

my teenage magazines like
Playboy, Fangoria,
Fate:

and when I
preached in
Concord pre-the-camp

I told my wife if
I get arrested
tomorrow

I might just have a
West County
sunburn:

a sign we are,
meaningless, painless
are we and have almost

pushed Lukaza on the
skateboard down a
stretch of 13th

St.: and then
from hour to hour we
rot, and rot, and

the cops and
Klan go
hand in hand.

The sibyls
sing I
saw the Lord on

high and see I
send an
angel going ‘fore

you to prepare
a place where
mated pairs of quail

could kiss in the
Yuba on the
Fourth of July,

in stasis between the
synagogue and
ekklesia, or else

most whelmed by
my own sin as
part of

the etheric body
Will Alexander was
talking about,

while King
Tubby’s Meets
Rockers Uptown

spins once
more upon the
Numark: “Baby

spectral
layers veil
all things, & I

sat in a
sunset amphitheater with
spokescouncil kids,

and Jacob
Kahn saw me on his
bike ride home from

the bookstore.  What I
read fifteen
years ago was

Suetonius: when I
work sound I set a
hymnal as my

misericord, the
sweet woman who
keeps me alive: holy

presence for which
we build the mikdash, that
the Lord may dwell

among us as
style is to
letters: moral radiance,

and this is my
pastor, and this my
mother in Christ,

absent from the
morning meeting for
justice but

the bodies of
martyrs tend to
get charged

like when I met
Samuel once more on
Piedmont,

who had the same
birthdate as me,
November the thirteenth,

which he
proved from his
license.  O you quiet

martyrs, Nia murdered on a
Sunday, on a
platform where I stood so

many times before, to
transfer or just
stand in the sun alongside

morning commuters in the
year of the
iconoclastic edict, when

successive penitential
cantatas follow,
maintaining this seasonal campaign …

 





 

[David Brazil is is a poet, pastor and translator. His third book of poetry, Holy Ghost (City Lights, 2017), was nominated for a California Book Award. He is the editor of Wave Books's edition of Philip Whalen's Scenes of Life at the Capital. With Kevin Killian, he co-edited The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater, 1945-1985. With Chika Okoye, he was the founding curator of the Berkeley Art Museum's Black Life series, focusing on cultural production in the African diaspora. He has presented his work at Cambridge University, Johns Hopkins, and San Francisco State University, among other venues. He lives in New Orleans.]

Copyright © 2020 by David Brazil, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.