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  • Song of the Andoumboulou: 93, and: Door Peep Shall Not Enter
  • Nathaniel Mackey (bio)

Song of the Andoumboulou: 93

        Rollaway horns were at his backagain. An invisible creek intersected the    road he strode along, audible under            a blanket of trees... Horns at                        his            back notwithstanding, he heard    it, heard what otherwise wasn'tthere. The muses' bare feet at creek's        edge misapprehended, suspect                    awareness            awareness even so, warning                    woven        into it it seemed, more than seeming,"mu" as in mud again... So creek mud    cooled his feet later, oozed between                    histoes he dreamt. Creek mud laced with        the horns' low lament, synaesthetic    sludge it was... He was afraid, elated,            again at the beginning, beginning to                        be        absorbed again... Creation Rebel he'd                            have                been had it been his to name himself, a                            long        way around he    went

        It was a long way around, feet shodin cement, legs heavy. Long shadow    trailing going out led coming back.                            A long        elliptical orbit, low sun... It wasn't            there was never a life, more he'd    grown immune to it. Mud's horns        memorial, the way no longer ahead,                            fell            from what sky he could only guess...        Walked all the more, chatted at bywater, what was to come once recorded,    said to've been recorded, dry mud's                            bird-foot    book... Babbled at by invisible         water, make-believe music's pelvic [End Page 713] sway. There but not to be had, he thought,                            had    at by what wasn't there... Had woken up        from inside his mother's posthumousapartment, next to nothing inside the kitchen                            he    looked into, came away from grieving, sad        albeit heavenly house... It was the longway around he took, ushered by the drooping    lilies the horns were, Trench Town's                            Memphite        run... How it might've been had it            been his to make made him wander,                            wide    motherly girth an idea the earth grew on...A long way around, equatorial, rotund...                            A          long way around it went... The horns                            were    flowers blooming behind him, dark flowers,                            mud            on the lip of each bell [End Page 714]

        Insofar as there was a they the hornsanswered. "By and by," the Bahamian    whatsay went, better had he known it,                            "By            and by." It was they, themselves, them,                                  the        mystic three or so it seemed, a dream in-consequentializingwhat was to come, the    horns' ongoing regret... A spoonful it                            was            or might've been, all it took, a spoonful                                all it         took [End Page 715]

        A big ellipse the big circle he camearound on, rebel he regarded himself    notwithstanding. Orbited... Fell in                            line...            A stiff elixir, sipped only a spoon's    worth. Drooping lilies, lifted chalices        once... We gathered creekside, greeted                                him,            mud more than we saw, faces gone    long on shade, shallows, decoded        the cloud he came in on... Thought    ourselves an exegete choir, dubbed                            ourselves              birds in black. Jackdaw deacons        we considered ourselves, jackdaw    decoding corps... Planet man wecalled him, explained him to himself,                            the        long way around he took. We were    the horns' ventriloquial extension, a                  big laugh inside our stomachs,            emptied our stomachs, laughter let                            outat island's edge... Sunlight coming thru        cloud he called himself, soon-come inconsequence,    naming come to naught,                            the            cipher "By and by" took us to...        "By and by," we muttered under ourbreath, "By and by." Come too far to've    been there before we heard him say,                            Ba-equaling        Jah- equaling Ra-Insofar-I's                            fetch,    we the decoding ones caught out... Came            shoeless he said and we heard and we        saw in retrospect mud caked his feet,Creation Rebel all the same, cracked voice                            caroling            straw... Birdsong heavy inside it,    bass bamboo, eked-out hammerhead flute...        The horns' counsel unassailable, constant,bamboo though we were, low flute                            entablature,            we the horn chorus's crest...    All of which to say it was getting late,        low sun scissored by tree limbs, leaves'elocution mum. "Mu" as in mum it was,                            "mu"            as in moon later, sun's low light an entelechy     of string, sun laid out meant "mu" [End Page 716]         as in moot, long since gone up, cut...First flesh...


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