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?