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.