(1947 / Miami, Florida.)

Unlay's Late Promenade

— "mu" one hundred sixteenth part —


Again that closer walk, legless though
they'd be. Low Insofarian sun I cut my
teeth on, theirs to be better to bite with,
me
theirs the closer we walked. They were
insisting time seeds grievance, crooned it the
closer I got, Zeno and Zenette moment's
nurs-
es, Nunca Anuncia's net...    Thus it was they
were there again, thus they walked legless,
noses thumbed at the sun. Unlay's avatar
said
to've become caricature, sacred clown of
late's late awakening, laughed having thought
it so...    So it was I saw what I saw was too
much. So it was I sewed my mouth shut,
they
who'd have heard me gone again, what-
say's entourage. "So it was" were the
words they'd gone away muttering, unlay's
non-
chalance...    Everything was leaving itself, eve-
ryone himself, herself, all of them, all of
it, moving. It was as though they were each
an-
other. Outmost urge met indrawn joust, pe-
yote-pod baritone tap. They were saying they'd
gotten back from this or that place. Where
was
the honey we'd heard about I wanted to know...    
In the realm of whatsay it all bore consequence.
They did a slack-legged shuffle, legless though
they were, quick-switch imbroglio the cost of it,
rum-
ble in the house of who knew. It was my own most
inward step, my heart itself, closer than close
could be. I had a go at it but fell, my legs were in
the
way, no way could legless grace come again...    I
thought about walking. I had to think about walk-
ing, Nunca's pelvic sway. Though what I saw
I
couldn't say, it made me say things, realm in
whose wood I hung in love with her hard look,
walk
in whose wake
I lay

I was whistling when my lips fell off. Lip-
less was to legless in some way I couldn't
say, the closer walk words got in the way
of...
What it was lay on the tip of my tongue,
say to unlay already in some way, unsay's
day begun. We were of more than one mind
Huff
had it. Sophia said the same... I wanted rele-
vance, trust, I whistled even so, wind in
the
gaps in my
teeth





A new lady named Ahdja joined our group,
slight of limb, loose tomboy body, smile so
broad we blushed. The Egyptian spring was
up
in smoke in back of us, we trudged on, far
from all that, even far from Lone Coast, a
former life stalked us it seemed... We took
tiny
steps, unsure what lay under us, unlay's realm
the sweet precinct we sought, unsure what
would get us there... To say we was too much
my
head told me. Not so my second head said. To
say we was all I wanted my third head said, sec-
ond head said to've lost itself, third head always
at
odds with itself, want wanting more of itself...
It was Ahdja's dream we were in, the we I went
on about, unlay's adumbration. When would
its
day begin we wondered, the we I so insisted on,
the we we'd eventually be, when would lay's
day be done. It was my dream of Ahdja we were
in
said my third head, we the one risk I took, one
wish, flat rhapsodic stitch... I walked haunted
by the we she made us, Nunca's promenade be-
hind us now. We'd seen Egypt in flames and we
kept
walking. Huff said, "I told you so," and we kept
walking, unlay's late promenade all there was
left... I dreamt a dream of moving on, I dreamt
a
dream of standing pat, first head and second head
and third head's agreement, a dream I let my true
self
slide





Unlay was no simple stand, this or that mystic
hustle, this or that bodily rebuke. In the end
it will have been all there was we grew to expect,
no
soul's captivity some book had called Egypt, a
book we no longer read... In the realm of whatsay
we tramped along, there no matter spun by the
swirl
of it, there no matter where we were. Moment's
notice moment's gnosis, the moment brought bad
and good. Ahdja's ka was Layla, Itamar's Majnun,
our
crew caught up in the old way, the old way's day
redone... "Madness be our name," we chimed in
unison, incensed, Majnun's dream of a just world
just dreaming, Majnun's each and all we were. So
it
was and so we sang, snuffed Egyptian spring an-
acrustic, uncuffed auspice there'd be. Thus it was,
so it went, unlay unlike what it was we expected,
sanc-
tified feet where voices met water, far from cause
and consequence we stumped... We were relishing being
together for a time, something seen in a face peering
out
from inside we saw was what soul was. "This is how
it is," I was telling myself, some spectral aspect it had
somehow. "This is how it is," I said, "this is how it
is," voice eaten at by the bay we stood in front of, cold
ad-
vent of water, cold commiseration, ythmic arrival,
salt... If not what wet our hems anointment was
nothing, nothing if not what tugged our feet. "Froth be
what we'll be," we chimed, indignant, high falsetto
in-
sistence, deep gubgubi thrum. There was a sense there
was a core to be gotten to, cloth drawn aside or
gone under, frills fallen away at the water's edge...
If
not it, albeit illusory it might have been, instigation
was
nothing

The advance I wanted lay at Ahdja's feet,
scruffy thought's nubbly dispatch. That all
bow down and be at rest, unlay's un- soon
come...
Chill water, careening bus, what Egypt was...
World
under glass wraps,
flat

by Nathaniel Mackey

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