Shane Book


from a series called Flagelliforms


Was time to clean up our act.

Gusts pitted its red wall, intestinal
serpents no longer uncoiled.
It fell out like mud. Had moisture.
A centre. And at its double-helix throat, hair-sheen.
Tried fieldwork but that weren’t
for we. The swooshing volume.
The hot brick dances. The persistent initiates
at the mystery favela festival
celebrating mystery. Sending concentric
dust-palavers winging back
across the sea as wizened rooks.
Sorted the bitter leaves.
Snorted occasional threads.
We were indoor-nigger.
Motorized by a rickety, lime-oil fuelled
flame in our calabash armour,
Amor, we said, please, we improve, we polish
the shells in the shea butter and the smoke-laden sap.

But our gourd machinist was under.
And the stream of inquiry chilled our pivot-needle
to a shudder. And waters roared over the lip.
Domes of mist smelling of horse sweat.
Would have defended with stereophonics:
the wailing; the painted on lust;
the candied yam allergens set aloft
and spinning; the great dropped rock.
Not now.
From behind brightly muraled,
corrugated tin, an irregular beating
fell out on the dirt street. Round, large,
like a severed head.
Pulled on the vine and it buckled
the fine mesh.
The braided snakes. The irons.
The sudden wave. The hackles. The crime.