Lone Coast Anacrusis

—"mu" fifty-third part—


Some new Atlantis known as Lower
Ninth we took leave of next, half the
turtle's back away. Whole bodies
we saw floating, not only heads...
Endless letting go, endless looking
else-
where, endless turning out to be
otherwise... Woods all around where
we came to next. We'd been
eating wind, we'd been drinking
wind,
rumoring someone looked at God eye
to eye... In what seemed a dream but
we saw wasn't we saw dirt sliding.
We were back and all the buildings
were gone. What were cliffs to us
we
wondered, blown dust of Bandiagara,
what
the eroding precipice we saw... Ground
acorns ground our teeth now. All but
all gums, we were where the Alone
lived, came to a clearing lit by light
so
bright we staggered, Nub it was we knew
we were still in... The mountain of
the night a mound of nothing, Toulali's
burr
what balm there was. Toulali's burr what
balm, remote though it was, lifetimes
behind us now... Voice laryngitic, lost
and lost again, blown grit rubbed it
away...
Someone had said something came to
mind. Someone had sung something, what
its words were no one could say. Sang
it
bittersweet, more brusque than bitter,
song's
cloth endowment stripped... Choric strain,
repeatedly slipped entablature. Given...
Given
endlessly again... No telling when but
intent on telling, no telling what. Wished
we
were home
again




Refugees was a word we'd heard,
raw talk of soul insistent, adamant,
the nonsong we sang or the song
we nonsang, a word we'd heard we
heard
was us... Wept in our sleep, again
one with what would never again be
there, raw talk rummaged our book,
the
backs of our hands written on with
cornmeal, the awaited ones reluctant
again...
The city of sad children's outskirts we
were in, woods notwithstanding, woods
nonetheless, bright light the light we
saw
as we were jolted, raw talk spiraling
away...
We were there and somewhere else no
matter where we were, everywhere more
than where we were... Where the Alone
lived we donned abalone-shell ornaments,
light's clarity conceded, night yet to relent,
Toulali
smoldered on, semisang, semispoke, wrestled
with his tongue it seemed... We trudged in place,
barely lifted our feet, backbeat hallowing
every step we took, moved us albeit we
stayed
put. We were where we were, somewhere
else no matter where, evacuees a word we'd
heard...
Stutter step, stuck shuffle, dancelike, Toulali's
croon enticed us, toyed with us, ground gone
under
where we
stood


Day of the new dead or a new day
of the dead, La Catrina had we been
farther south... One of us out
of Mexico remembered, with us
from
no one could say when... Day
of the new dead a new day of the
dead...
Wind in off the water blew us there.

A beat before. Beginning's beginning.
Never to be there again... Beginning beaten
back, aboriginal. The Alone collecting
shells
on Lone Coast... They were the awaited
ones'
grudge not the awaited ones, the awaited
ones' wish not to be there... Grudge or its
ghost, grudge against going, grudge to've
been anywhere at all... Gnostic hostages
down
on all fours, then-again's beginning, beat
before
beginning be-
grudged





We were in the woods again circling,
not far from Lone Coast, kids again,
wondered why anything was. The city of
sad children a mood swing away,
we
strode imagining nothing, redwoods
everywhere, muttered barely audibly,
"Nothing is, nothing ever was,"
chill
so intrinsic we shook... No lament was
it, not exactly insight, precocious not
quite what it was. Beginning's beginning
it seemed we came abreast of, beginning's
beginning's ghost... We shivered, would've
shed
chill's incumbency had we been able,
close but absconded with, all but all
done,
sperichill we called it, numb... Had
there
been a song, had someone asked who
sang it, whitecaps rushing the beach
we'd have said, whitecapped anacrusis we'd
have said, long since there and gone...
Lower
Ninth had ffallen off, protobeat, protobegin-
ning, blow borne before it began borne again,
the one coast it all had become now crumbling,
world
edge, world rebuff... Circling no end it seemed,
except we stopped, stood looking at the sunlight
streaming in. Churchical some would've said but
we resisted, felt it that way but wanted not to. Not
was
no guarantee... Circlig no end it seemed... Same crowded
same
crowded same, ad infinitum, beginning's
beginning's
bluff


No Tchoupitoulas. No St. Joseph's.
The Alone's Lower Ninth by default.
When we stopped we stood, picked
our
teeth with fishhooks. The Along lay their
nets out to dry we imagined, nets made of
nothing, nothingness, the non-thing
we
surmised we not-saw... They lay
their nets out in the sun at the base of
the slope the woods were on. We
were
them, they were there again, evacuated
we that we were... We were slaves or
possessed by slaves, the Alone the
indigenous ones... I wanted to break
free
but fell as I took a step, felt my knees
and hands hit the ground, I got back up,
syn-
apse what there was if anything
was


Wind in off the water lifted the water.
Body of waves lain with lain away from,
caught in crawlspace, barely got out.

Caught in crawlspace, barely got out,
an alternate state the nonstate we were
citizens of... Pyramids to projects the
hill we were on, drift infiltrated for-
feiture, frame, image not to be lived
up
to... Up never again to be one with
itself
soul dissipate what soul was, beginning's
begin-
ning's de-
cree

Stray nation sworn allegiance to seceded
from... Abalone necklaces we wore around
our necks... There was a trance I was
otherwise in, beside myself, a new, no
longer
blue attunement I drew back from,
another new cut was on the box. Another
cut on the box, another nick, a new notch,
splay
state sung to rescinded as we sang, reprise
we broke
free from
again

by Nathaniel Mackey

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