On Antiphon Island

Nathaniel Mackey

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“mu” twenty-eighth part —

 

    On Antiphon Island they lowered

the bar and we bent back. It

 wasn't limbo we were in albeit

       we limbo'd. Everywhere we

                                                   went we

  limbo' d, legs bent, shoulder

    blades grazing the dirt,

                                         donned

andoumboulouous birth-shirts,

   sweat salting the silence

 we broke... Limbo'd so low we

     fell and lay looking up at

   the clouds, backs embraced by

                                                     the

      ground and the ground a fallen

                                                        wall

  we were ambushed by... Later we'd

     sit, sipping fig liqueur, beckoning

 sleep, soon-come somnolence nowhere

     come as yet. Where we were, not-

withstanding, wasn't there...

 

                                              Where we

    were was the hold of a ship we were

                                                               caught

       in. Soaked wood kept us afloat... It

wasn't limbo we were in albeit we

    limbo'd our way there. Where we

  were was what we meant by “mu.”

                                                          Where

     we were was real, reminiscent

 arrest we resisted, bodies briefly

                                                      had,

 held on

to 

       "A Likkle Sonance" it said on the

record. A trickle of blood hung

    overhead I heard in spurts. An

  introvert trumpet run, trickle of

                                                   sound...

      A trickle of water lit by the sun

        I saw with an injured eye, captive

   music ran our legs and we danced...

                                                              Knees

bent, asses all but on the floor, love's

      bittersweet largesse... I wanted

    trickle turned into flow, flood,

        two made one by music, bodied

                                                           edge

         gone up into air, aura, atmosphere

             the garment we wore. We were on

          a ship's deck dancing, drawn in a

                                                               dream

    above hold... The world was ever after,

                                                                  elsewhere.

Where we were they said likkle for little, lick

     ran with trickle, weird what we took it

 for... The world was ever after, elsewhere,

                                                                     no

  way where we were

was there

"On Antiphon Island" by Nathaniel Mackey, from SPLAY ANIBEM, copyright ©2002 by Nathaniel Mackey. Reprinted by perrnissiQn of New Directions Publishing Corp.