Major Jackson

Leaving Saturn

Sun Ra & His Year 2000 Myth Science Arkestra
at Grendel's Lair Cabaret, 1986


My eyes dilate old
Copper pennies.
Effortlessly, I play
Manifesto of the One
Stringed Harp.
This time I'm washed
Ashore, ship-wrecked
In Birmingham.
My black porcelain
Fingers, my sole
Possession. So I
Hammer out
Equations for
A New Thing.
Ovid & Homer
Behind me, I toss
Apple peelings in
The air & half-hear
Brush strokes, the up
Kick of autumn
Leaves, the Arkestra
Laying down for
New dimensions.
I could be at Berkeley
Teaching a course—
Fixin's: How to Dress
or Generations:
Spaceships in Harlem.

Instead, vibes from Chi-
Town, must be Fletcher's
Big Band Music—oh,
My brother, the wind—
& know this life is
Only a circus. I'm
Brushed aside: a naif,
A charlatan, too avant
Garde. Satellite music for
A futuristic tent, says
One critic. Heartbreak
In outer space, says
Another,— lunar
Dust on the brain.
I head to NewYork.
NewYork loves
A spectacle: wet pain
Of cement, sweet
Scent of gulls swirling
Between skyscrapers
So tall, looks like war.
If what I'm told is true
Mars is dying, it's after
The end of the world.
So, here I am,
In Philadelphia,
Death's headquarters,
Here to save the cosmos,
Here to dance in a bed
Of living gravestones.