Song of the Andoumboulou: 138

Anuncio drifted in a well of sound, unlay's
ward, late orphan, a wry erotics had its
way. He called himself Antonio now, Ahdja
having
joined our group...    Dunelike hip and thigh
he stipulated, the desert he insisted we see. We
understood there was occult stuff going on
un-
derneath, telling ourselves get used to it,
close to the bone so close it lay inside, the
closer walk we all went on about...    We
were in Port of  Spain thinking about India,
bored
outside the Red House, shimmering side
street, pan exactitude bruited elsewhere, pan's
light water, floating light. The light hung as
though
it were buffed, embroidered, sound's amanuensis,
griff...    There they were at the well again, the
we he'd been told would be there, whatsaid
en-
semble the air disinterred, hit by affliction
in each their own way, beset by some other
where there might've been, beset by some other
when there might've been, beset by some nether
light...    
If not bodily light's late day there was nothing,
the not-all-there there'd always been come into
its own. Wind affliction was all, all there was,
rent,
a mere liplike wrinkle at least. "Back when we
were alive," it said...    Literal sigil. Sage regret.
A way of  looking. Something we saw. "Sealed
lips
wheeled in the air," we translated it. The point
was
to look past it we
saw





He wanted Ahdja's poise, Antonio's aplomb,
namesake demur, name notwithstanding. So it
was he blinked and his eyes bled, wry erotics'
haunched interstice bloodstruck, never again
be-
fit, Mr. In-Between... A kaiso chorale, we sang
"Namaste," a voice inside the voice inside the
box, tongue in cheek, box buried somewhere
east...
It wasn't singing we were there for, chant
though we did sotto voce, an agonized aplomb of
some sort... An Ibibio go-head we each turned
into, not meaning to... Go-heads one and all we
were,
snide choir... To sing wasn't why we were there...
What it was was names tore loose, took wing, what
world had been ours theirs now, sound itself,
A-
nuncio's well's regress... So that what we sought
was more tone, mock sonance, science an a-
malgam of huh, wuh, huh, knowing's new toll,
wuh
huh... We were where the songs had been beckon-
ing from. This was as it always was. This was
always it no matter what it was. All the things it
was
lay nameless. Roots drew loose with no tonic,
it whether or not it was... An aroused incumbency
surrounded us, unlay's fallaway terrain's intan-
gibility, Antonio's adjunct address. We were down
to
the it of it it seemed... Was it the shimmer of last
things we wondered, queasiness come and gone
come again. There the very it so what it was our knees
gave,
so close we could taste it, nonce elixir, lapse, ellipse...
All of which Ahdja made light of, unsure what of it
fit or if any of it fit. "You can't come on with all
that
new-name talk, that no-name stuff. All that evac-
uation stuff," she said, "gets old, got old," as Antonio
carried on, kept on, Anuncio to some of us, even
so...
All as if the quality of standing there shifted, a new
cast
of soul come
down





Some common body to adduce it would some-
day come to. We stood on the dock, white
clouds, blue sky all around, spiked Antillean
salt
in the air. Big ships loomed as we talked...
Each of us with our well of sound, a sense of
quest and of brute inconsequence, Anuncio's
mys-
tic pretense. "Promises, promises," we said suck-
ing our teeth, said sucking wind thru the gaps
between our teeth, a taunt song serenading Mr.
In-
Between... We stood looking out, disconsolate,
nothing if not words for recompense, what if not
words none of us knew. Words more whistle
than words we admonished, Anuncio going on
a-
bout Antonio and Ahdja, the he and she of
lore they'd have been had they been able, each
the other's butterfly twin... Each the other's
but-
terfly friend if not all that, paperweight, open,
flown. Second-, third-, nth-hand innuendo all
there was, word more whistle, mere whistle we
let
loose, echo degree zero, choric sough... Black
wheeze, occult burr, we susurrated. "Este mundo
tan extraño," she intoned, we as well. Ahdja
was
meat and bones on the spirit of place he con-
vinced us existed, an impromptu polity exhumed...
The feeling we were futureless went away. Wuh
huh
went as
well





An inwardly repeated tableau. We sat on the
dock, reluctant witnesses it seemed, more
story to the story than we could see. What
we
thought real got a gossamer look, soon to
tear thru it seemed. Lytic remit what we'd
been told was real, brute reconnoiter, non-
sonant lament it seemed... There we stood,
toll-
ing bone in the air, no tone. Huff called it
skeletone. There we sat though we stood,
stood though we sat, stark Trinidadian light
a
new life, shoal of an earlier life... I wanted
Anuncio's ythmic pivot, Ahdja's mystic sa-
shay, Antonio's pirate swag rolled into one
but
no one was asking me. No one was noticing
anything, I thought, the difference Ahdja made
no matter, an order of self-containment ob-
tained. So I thought or would've said I thought
had
anyone asked. No one did, said or saw... An
illusion of place or an allusion to it, Mu was
all there was, unmoored abstract integument,
im-
manent commemorative lament. Something
known as la-la crowded my throat, clung to
the roof of my mouth. La-la meant I loved it,
torn
but tucked away, the versionary company of
love I'd fallen in with, first unfallen fallen, unre-
formed... No time soon will I be done with it
I thought. La-la mentored my disarray. No way
can
I be done with it I thought, Ahdja and Antonio
Anuncio's boon constituency, each the other's
go-head eminence, each the other's glancing
re-
lay... Late that day we sat in a small boat on the
other side of the island. Scarlet ibises got their
color eating shrimp Ahdja pointed out. Anuncio,
not
knowing what to say, said, "So my heart..." Mu
was not knowing. Mu meant shutting up. Mu was
me and Ahdja, Mr. and Ms. In-Between. Mu
meant no filler. "Promises, promises" resounded
all
day... Something we saw in Ahdja's face wanted
out it seemed. She was the one we had by not
having lore had it, love's adamant outskirts, love's
dog-
matic heart. I made untimeliness a foregone future,
something-seen-in-a-face a new order to restore. I
saw gold where there maybe wasn't, beer cans lined
on
the rail we leaned against, aught if not imagined im-
pact, we the presumption of one... A long sus-
tention of hum it came down to, Om the Vedic nu
we
reminisced, Om the seed-syllabic gist and embel-
lishment, Om the intuitist Mu. "Greek to me,"
each of us admitted, thrum we were ambushed by,
glum subterranean drone strung under it, mosquito
buzz
athwart it
all

I dreamt I died and I went into an isolation
booth, a quiz box I dug my breath up in. "Please
call me Antonio," I whispered, head against
the
hardness of the bone beneath her breast, an
anacrustic psalm, a new "Dearly Beloved."
What to say but there was nothing to, wag as
much
we might... Something of which we had a name
if nothing else. Something for which we had
the name if nothing else. Something for which
we
had a name if nothing else. Something of which
we
had the name if nothing
else

Accompaniment called out to me in dreams
I woke wincing from. In its grip, in the
giving of it something new came out, a new
and
old something the thought of which made
me weep, the very thought of it I thought I
knew... But who really knew I wondered,
wind-
ing back down, again feeling futureless, further-
on's would-be walk no new accompaniment,
argu-
ment's rhyme and
regret

by Nathaniel Mackey

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