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Callaloo 24.4 (2001) 1037-1038

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Royce Hall

Michael S. Harper

Coltrane played here; Miles, never!
too many historians make light of segregation
not understanding denotative geography,
understanding nothing of the hurt
especially in music:
Ellington's forgiveness shant be forgot
we dance into the passing lanes
of Charlie Barnett, Jimmy Lunceford
both playing to the Indians, encamped,
Cherokee, Chickasaw Stomp, or was it jump
[my love has my tickets to the fare
a doctor in the making the other
cousins on both side of the Panama Canal
no one but Milt Jackson indispensable]
she will learn 'all the things you are'
in little more than a fortnight
fondling the Spanish text of my affections
in the lexicon of code, and codes broken
for she is doubleagent to postmodern kin
where kinship ties foresake and are foresaken
yet music is every part of her idiom
quick movements of the dance forever latin [End Page 1037]
the tango glistening in workout stations
of the rich and poor in democratic steps
she can lock into whenever she chooses
the padre disguising little she can't feel

Copyright © Michael S. Harper

Michael S. Harper, the first Poet Laureate of Rhode Island (1988-1993), is University Professor and Professor of English at Brown University and author of several volumes of poems. His Honorable Amendments (1995) won the George Kent Award selected by Gwendolyn Brooks, and his collected poems Songlines in Michaeltree was published in the spring of 2000. He is also co-editor (with Anthony Walton) of the Vintage Anthology of African American Poetry, 1750-2000 and Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep. He has also edited The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown and Chant of Saints (with Robert B. Stepto).



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