Adrian Matejka

Language Mixology

Half brother of the same halves,
simulacra is fancy for “absent.”
Like banging means “good”
or off the chain means “good.”
The same way off the hook forgets
the phone, I’m forgetting the space
between Oregon and North
Carolizzay, daylight savings time,
and the addition of the “-izzay.”
So silly that suffix, verbed
blackface for black folks.
So here you are writing unmasked,
bouncing verbs without face paint
like empty rooms bounce echoes:
“The Mulatto Question,” a question
of remixing our name or re-envisioning
our cliché like Bonz Malone saying,
Life is beautiful, it’s just the shit
in it that’s fucked up
over vocals
keys looped like a fishhook.
Didn’t he know piano is necessary
in any Mulatto blues? Black key
for one woman or white key for two
women when you should be writing
and that combination is feminine.
We’ve got a disputed lineage,
like Arizona before Estavancio
named it. We got all kinds of folks
acting like Estavancio, get it?
Mixed man, mixed man,
that state wasn’t called a state,
but the pedigreed mountains
and lizards were already in place.

Adrian Matejka
Language Mixology first appeared in Crab Orchard Review, and was featured on Verse Daily.