Kyle G. Dargan


~for the anxious among us


All our back-speak
tanned blue by a chiding
sun—nothing we did,
said, or asked of the day.
Within the [flesh] within those distant holds
—bodies almost living
lingua franca—all the smuggled tongue.
Within us, all the palaver stolen and run
against the grain of who we are
until sharp. Speech must prick
both ends—poison the kill
and inoculate the pred—to kill. How
you sound
just brass and hymn?
How you sound just break
beat—no verse? Is there
one sound whole
enough to blanket-burn us
free, burn our we so dark
we cease to be it: no auntie,
no Rainy, no Robeson, no crunk,
no big band, no Amos, no acid,
no soul. How you sound: a moon phase
of how we sound: a permutation
of how [they] were collared
and syncopated, probed and muffled
like instruments. We play it—
Jim Crow’s carcass
with holes to touch and blow,
torque the note. Must know
note whole before you can strike
and pin its wings down
in the grand book, give it name,
give it era to atrophy. How we
sound is a slow sunrise to the West.
It is not dawn yet, why worry
some shifting gleam cresting the avenue?