In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Muse & Drudge Selections
  • Harryette Mullen (bio)

Sapphire’s lyre styles plucked eyebrows bow lips and legs whose lives are lonely too

my last nerve’s lucid music sure chewed up the juicy fruit you must don’t like my peaches there’s some left on the tree

you’ve had my thrills a reefer a tub of gin don’t mess with me I’m evil I’m in your sin

clipped bird eclipsed moon soon no memory of you no drive or desire survives you flutter invisible still [End Page 639]

country clothes hung on her all and sundry bolt of blue have mercy ink perfume that snapping turtle pussy won’t let go until thunder comes

call me pessimistic but I fall for sour pickles sweets for the heat awrr reet peteet patootie

shadows crossed her face distanced by the medium riffing through it too poor to pay attention

sepia bronze mahogany say froggy jump salty jelly in a vise buttered up broke ice

odds meeting on a bus the wrecked cognition calling baby sister what sounds like abuse

you have the girl you paid for now lie on her rocky garden I build my church

a world for itself where music comes to itself three thirds of heaven sure to be raining

on her own jive player and instrument all the way live the way a woman might use it [End Page 640]

why these blues come from us threadbare material soils the original colored pregnant with heavenly spirit

stop running from the gift slow down to catch up with it knots mend the string quilt of kente stripped when kin split

white covers of black material dense fabric that obeys its own logic shadows pieced together tears and all unfurling sheets of bluish music

burning cloth in a public place a crime against the state raised the cost of free expression smoke rose to offer a blessing

go on sister sing your song lady redbone señora rubia took all day long shampooing her nubia

she gets to the getting place without or with him must I holler when you’re giving me rhythm

members don’t get weary add some practice to your theory she wants to know is it a men thing or a him thing

wishing him luck she gave him lemons to suck told him please dear improve your embouchure [End Page 641]

tomboy girl with cowboy boots takes coy bow in prom gown your orange California suits you riding into sundown

lifeguard at apartheid park rough, dirty, a little bit hard broken blossom, poke a possum park your quark in a hard aardvark

a wave goodbye, a girl bred on the Queen Mary big legged gal how come you so contrary

let the birds pick her make a nest of her hair let the rootman conjure her to stare and stir air

sauce squandering sassy cook took a gander bumped a pinch of goose skinned squadroon cotillion filled uptown ballroom with squalid quadrille

don’t eat no crow, don’t you know ain’t studying about taking low if I do not care for chitterlings ‘tain’t nobody’s pidgin

Hawkins was talking while I kept on walking now I’m standing in my tracks stepping back on my abstract

if not a don’t at least a before skin of a rubber chicken these days I ignore I’m less interested in [End Page 642]

marry at a hotel, annul ‘em nary hep male rose sullen let alley roam, yell melon dull normal fellow hammers omelette

divine sunrises Osiris’s irises his splendid mistress is his sis Isis

creole cocoa loca crayon gumbo boca crayfish crayola jumbo mocha-cola

warp maid fresh fetish coquettish a voyeur leers at x-rated reels

precious cargo up crooked alleys mules and drugs blood on the lilies of the fields

drive by lightning let Mississippi rip catch some sense if you get my drift

watch out for the wrecking crew they’ll knock you into the dirt your attic will be in your basement and you’ll know how it feels to be hurt

a planet struck by fragments of a shattered comet tell...

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pp. 639-647
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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