Sunday, July 26, 2009


From The Rat Lecture

"Well, nobody git kill"
- Bob Marley, remarking on an attempt on his life
by Jamaican political rivals

After a month and a half of
Intense Nfinity farming in China the man
Entered his house twice before he could
Be declared a Sacred Clown let Dionysus
Flip gender down go beyond hex the
Patty Roller didn't flinch as he rubbed
Scar tissue in the Star Child's eyes

Riding without a mouth piece or a
Brain in his head 'Skip' Gates put
A Hyundai through its paces at over
121 miles per hour opening the heart
Of south central Boston when in attack
Mode he could hit a baseball thrown
By Ken Burns from a surf board

Torch the bedroom and burn the mother
Fucker down for Crazy Horse in search
Of a searing memory how about revenge
For the Kongo Barb Be Que sauce
My third grade math teacher smeared on
The bottom of my SAT score because
My answers just were not hot enough

If you feel chilled in the dark
If your front teeth get clocked by
A flying Irish Catholic fist if you
Get to work one morning and the
Door to your office is locked with
All the sighing dignity of your freight
And essence strewn in to the street

If you find Klan essays in your
Inbox a picture of your family with
The kids' faces x'd out a still
Life of your self with a paving
Stone moored cut in the precise place
Where your face should be or a
White Brick Swaztika on point at myspace

If they take your pass port force
You into internal exile monitor your phone
Calls move you to Colorado in the
Middle of the night folded blind if
Your shit begins to stink like a
Sloe small blue black bitter plum tree
If your mind changes 'holla at me'

July 24, 2009
K. Curtis Lyle, Warrior Poet

Saturday, July 4, 2009



Michael Jackson died today in internal exile;
His heart was put under house arrest
At a rented room in Holmby Hills;
Someone saw him fall out, put their
Mouth on his and then called 911;
Rushed to the UCLA Center for the
Medical Arts he was dead on arrival

"Once in awhile I like to be
Driven around town in a black hearse;
I sigh and ride past my old
Haunts and search for the faces of
Friends who started a joke by saying
They knew I'd end up on the
Front page of a check stand journal"

"With no place to be, I headed
Home for a reunion with my family;
I had lost contact with them maybe
10 or 15 years back, but I
Met them with my wit and they
Found me by rolling their lunches out
To the highway and wading through traffic"

"Do you ever wonder how a digit
Gets put to gether? How a life
Flies apart? I found some phone numbers
In my back pocket the other day;
None of them were praying; all were
Suspect; to find love and respect, you
Have to reach out and touch someone"

"I hadn't been around a lot lately;
I was out in the garage taking
Super secret notes on Duke's nuances in
East St. Louis Toodleoo, Rockin N Rhythm
And It don't Mean a Thing; from
My late teens til this after noon
he was my model and my man"

"I never stayed married after the wows
Because I felt glad and unhappy at
The same time; I put whiskey in
My shoes, laughed out loud twice at
The altar to make my feet move;
I feel that old and that young
Now, please, rip out my tongue"

The feather down knee pads remain, along
With the one jeweled glove; his hair
On fire during the filming of the
Pepsi scam; the magic screams of babies
At the opening of the best mother
Fuckin' video ever made; brother wore black
Shoes with snow white socks; so what!

Michael Jackson is a monster! Bubbles is
His real sweetie! Never Land is a
Coo Coo Nest! A scare crow jumps
Over the wall and buys up the
Beatles' memory as if it were a
Bottle of cheap British Schnapps; this totally
Pissed white folks off; say, so what!

He fucked Elvis's baby girl; true 'dat;
But then, Elvis fucked our baby girls,
Baby boys, mama, daddy, grandma, grandpa and
Such, til the black was stroked out
Of our blues; but, there is no
Such thing as fair trade in the
Bruised wars of culture; say, so what!

"I Moon Walk around Notre Dame calling
Out to Our Lady in ways that
Defy speech; the breach in the classic
World that I created can never be
Closed; from the mad Geto Boys of
South Houston to the sperm soaked streets
Of Lagos ruled by Fela Anikulapo Kuti"

"I cross myself in death with symbols
Of the Coming of Man; the right
Hand grabbing the crotch; the left waving
To my baby; maybe she's in the
Next room; the left knee and ankle
raised in eternal dispute with grave yards;
Ham strimg loose below the right thigh"

"Samson had all the muscle in the
World, but he couldn't move like me;
Whippet stray coal housed under white canary
James Brown Stevie Wonder Ray Charles Marvin
Gaye Jimi Hendrix made my way; I
Give them praise and thanks for showing
Me how to rob banks with music"

Steel carrot parlays as birds of Bahrain
Are almond stuffed in little holes of
Concrete and sand and left on the
Beach to preach in silence to the
Masters of oil wealth; their stealth and
Cunning in the art of running a
Game would not please the Prophet Muhammad

"Who will offer me cool leave; then
Who will grace me with station and
Fixed chords; care taker of earth air
Metal wood water and fire; I desire
Two things; a place to be and
The name of the archer who launched
Me from the pad of Cape Michael"

"When I come back as a jaguar
There will be throats torn out;
Knee caps will crack; shins and calves
Will be shred like wheat under the
Battle plan of a John Deere tractor;
Save your money and buy your tickets
'Cuz you know I will be BAD"

Rudy & the Valentinos Charlie & the
Lindberghs Jimmy & the Deans Marilyn &
The Monroes Elvis & the Presleys Johnny
& the Lennons Mikey & the Jacksons
Make the globe tremble; shave an iceberg
Out from its center; no doubt, this
is the Age bearing the Bozo Yuga

"This is not real opium you handed
Me, but a placebo drug with pizza
Flavor; I asked for a Georgia stomp,
An Alabama strut, a Carolina shout and
You hand me a stapler to shoot
Myself through the door and deflate the
Pain; I'm insane! I want the pain!"

For every Gabriel blowing a joyous horn
Through her mouth there is a drunken
Son House on Hollywood Blvd; crack slouch
Asleep in his red rocking chair wonders
Where when and why her prayers turned
Away from the power to reveal the
Rising sun and into genuine night mares

We come; press our Beijing ducks with
Time and hammer them into food; craven
Thin men remove the shake from nails
The rude whip from the back of
The body; a turtle strides into the
Camp ground: he brings a blue guitar
Back from Gary; Indiana of my youth

"I saw two men take down a
Third; lay him gently on the ground
And remove the rope from his neck;
As one man soothed the burned throat
The other reached inside the dead man's
Chest and pulled out his heart;
The art of healing is never lost"

O night of wax lament where we
Release the last record of your soul;
The people are not sad about what
Became of you; of elfin limb and
Papier mache, you are solid inside; in
Cloud sedate and funeral mount there is
Heard coming and going liquid lotus fire

What does the down button mean? In
The face of the panel of the
Ride, there are lines that explain the
Price of a stumble or a missed
Step; he wanted to go to the
13th floor; the door opened at #
9; what kind of sign is that?

God is the aim, but mostly the
Claim is one that only moves persona
From one solemn horizon to the next;
What if the motion was toward a
Black vertex that endured and out lasted
Time health illness rank grammar logic truth
Vision and being; beyond even inner seeing

The roan mare raised the rose stud
The rose stud went down town; down
Town was blank and gone all day;
So mare and stud down town became
Full and bold like warriors with the
Self control of women; to be a
True animal means to know your limit

Cool sugar beet crushed under mortar by
Cruel pestle is the prime meta phor
I'd use to light the plat form
Of my love; I need to just
Squeeze and ring your fleet frame until
Its thin as a wet rag drying
In the sweat lodge of plains summer

That walk is the walk of a
Killer; slow to deliver a motive, but
So brazen that the smell of terrain
The shift of wind the drift of
Sky has no choice but to choose
You over the victim; it's not about
Victory defeat or death; it's that walk!

When you sing in unison with any
Being you become one; beget their letters
And laws as long as the song
Endures; a cricket is a lonely woman;
Spike Lee hugs Madonna in the open;
Alms for kids wailing in Malawi compose
Psalms for those who weep in London

Gristle and carti lage and white bone
Poke through skin; this is after the
End of the world; history and mystery
Criss Cross one another a billion times
Before a new stage begins; every 50,000
Years Shiva rises in the wild west
To test the mettle of our DNA

To GO is the nature and the
Symbol of godhead; to stay is the
Nature and symbol of mankind; the smoothe
Middle path at first seems wise, then
Finally foolish; the holy man chews lemon
Drops to soothe his gut's deep burn;
At death he leaves a sweet tooth

"The beauty of causes and games is
Set in the same basket as assault
With intent to commit mayhem; I loved
Richard Pryor because he figured out how
To make the naivete of Leon Spinks
The power of Coltrane and the primal
Daring of Tupac into an elegant hustle"

The dark horse trims fat so that
He can get to ship shape; William
Butler Yeats sailed off to Byzantium when
His muse told him that he had arrived
In a country where there was no
Place for old men; degrade color romance
Sound then founder in your own phlegm

"A widow makes me kiss a Masonic
Stone; I am alone in the part
myself that can't stop the
Needle and scalpel from peeling all the
Flesh down from around my asshole;
I was once fierce in my loins;
My heat broke and the climate changed"

"The thought of being buried offends me;
Big hole fronted by a marble stump
They expect me to just jump in
And let them pile on until I
Rot and become an after thought; some
Ritual residue rehash urn; I didn't come
From dust; so why should I return?"


July 4, 2009
By K. Curtis Lyle, Warrior Poet

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The First Life of Leroy Satchel Paige

The First Life of Leroy Satchel Paige


I arrive in a plain brown package

Careful, do not disturb me with rips
Cuts that tear my face into ribbons

Instead, unfold my front with tender mercy
Rush the win lines of both hands
Along the soft leather of my skin

Make me the friend you dearly need


The first life of Leroy Satchel Paige

This natural oath is who I am

They made me rubber at the core
And rolled me in bands of string

Inside I yield to shape and code
Outside the field is under my control

My will is born against this road


I am a white pony who leaves
Your hand in a flash of light
Sets down the batter in the storied
Blink of an eye; his theory will
Try to move one wisdom muscle, but
Reflex betrays him at the usual speed

He drops his bat and thanks me


I am so black and saint famous
That my praise name has become please
Cease and desist; they now call me
Arrow of dread, scythe of the soul
One who destroys the ball player’s church
The Perch of America; grace and fatal
Vitality rolls up in my gourd vine


For awhile you all look like pillars
Of salt; stand stone still for hours
And call out my name shaking pain
From elbows to tips of the fingers

Are you frauds waiting in the dust?
Biting the silence with two broken wings?

I know you took your three swings!


When I came down into the city
A giant with red teeth told me
I could never combine my ancient weeping
Sense of night time with the drummer
Making the daily weather report; the sport
Had moved past me, like a bullet
Pierced my name, put out my fire


I was a pitch; used to sprint
Halfway to the plate, crack a smile,
Take a break, recoup rites of spring
I knew I had missed the train
By a mile; the day dream stopped
At the tracks; some small voice said,
“Don’t look back, they’re gaining on you.”


1948 photo of Paige by George Silk for LIFE Magazine.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I DIG OF THEE: Kwansabas for Obama

For Barack Hussein Obama

By K. Curtis Lyle

Brother, you made the white house hip
I want to ask you in person
If you need a brown eyed poet
To help you bag the spoiled murmurs
Of the Bush man’s con artist heart
That still stink up the oval office

If you do, I’m your main man

From the rim of the Grand Canyon
A cobalt blue Rolls Royce turns left
The voice of a dry saint unfolds
Like a violet dream turbine in reverse
The black smoke of a spirit nurse
Takes the voice inside and quietly repeats
“Barack, you are soul central to me”

The first black woman is a drum
The first black man is a rumor
She is an old song sung roughly
His gravel voice full of good liquor
They are the price to be paid
For seeing terror and wonder in being
The line between the human and divine

I rub two sticks and let fire
Form the front side of my origins
Let water soothe my raw back side
Where Kenya and Kansas made my sense

If you try to erase my mouth
Milk from the new world will flow
Telling the whole story of my love

Does the invader ever bring good news?

When we have entered the prayer time
Where aroma bends the world like notes
Where people, places, things are all singing
Where doors open to ecstasy and touch
Is primal, cordial, allied to the body

Here is a rare episode of beauty

Sip with me from the Holy Grail
Prepare the day and lay the trail
Then set the hawk against the wind
See his silent mind and arc ascend
What now happens is the only way
His nature is to kill the prey

That is how the game is played

I dig of thee, because you said,
“One love can touch the whole world
Without it, no man knows the word
A man asleep cannot see his blood
But awake he can feel his will
In the cellar of the darkest temple
The voice of sacred work is love”


Photo by Wiley Price of The St. Louis American, from the same exclusive shoot that produced the world-famous image of AME bishops praying over Obama in St. Louis.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


“Our bed is green” – Song of Solomon. 1.16

By K. Curtis Lyle

1. Reconciliation

I receive the believer who was charred by the fire
I accuse and accept the perennial liar
I take pleasure in setting day on top of the night
My historical measure
Welcomes the wedding of the black and the white

The people decide, not political whim
Human beings once blind, now look out over the rim
They see the weeping of Blackness
They hear the confusion of blood
They feel their knees once rubbed down to the bone
Now redeemed at the shores of counsel and home
That the heart could wake marrow and then make it care
That love could become herald when hatred was there
Is a tribute to patience and to faith and to plan
Recognition that courage is at the heart of the man
It could all end tomorrow or become the fat of the ground
You make the call; tell me brother and sister
If what was lost is now found

The jailed and the jailers
Close the wound, heal the limb
Reconcile and then pledge
No more guilt no more sin

Violence is futile, revenge is absurd
Our bed is green and the garden is full
Of good herbs

2. Water

They gathered-up the ashes along the Ganges
And asked no questions
Along the Nile they wondered how water could boil
And turn the earth black
Along the Amazon they chanted for the frost to go back north
And then waited for emeralds to return to their forests
At the eight mouths of the Mississippi all waters converged
The dream text met the saturation of night
Deep prayer met silence

The mind that made simple water
Is the same mind that made sexual fire

The grandmother made the egg
The egg made the man
The man made the daughter
The daughter made the son
The son made solitude phat, fierce and hypervigilant
Caked in pharmaceutical logic

The grandmother made the egg

3. Earth

He handed his passport to a hungry woman, a homeless woman
With three children, sitting at the side of the road
And walked away into the night with a sliding gait,
Reminiscent of an athlete or perhaps even a dancer

The next day this same woman queued up in a breadline
To get her family’s daily ration

A woman named Birdsee Featherstone, walking against the queue,
Noticed the first woman and her three children
And because she had an extra loaf of bread
Took pity on the woman with the children
And handed them her surplus food
The hungry woman had nothing to give in return,
Or to offer as thanks
So she instinctively handed Birdsee Featherstone the passport
Of the man who walked away into the night with the sliding gait
Reminiscent of an athlete or a dancer

That same day this scene was repeated many times, inexplicably,
In Rwanda, Atlanta, London, Djakarta, Kabul, Sarajevo, Warsaw,
Marseille, Moscow, Berlin, Baghdad, Tel Aviv, Kingston, La Paz,
Detroit, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Teheran, New York and Amman

For 2000 years this exchange rated the world and made it real
The bread and the passport fed the world, educated its children,
Settled arguments, reconciled all things irreconcilable, redeemed
That which was thought to be irredeemable,
Clarified thinking that was muddled and unclear
Restored and liberated the ground
From the emptiness of zero
To the fullness of a love supreme


4. Flight

All Birds Must Pass Here Five Times
In Order To Achieve True Freedom

They pass the first time
In order to overcome the fear of heights

The second time they pass
They must accept solitude
On the third pass they develop the ability
To stare into the Sun and Moon simultaneously

The fourth pass forces them to relinquish any definite color

The fifth time they pass they must purge words from the body
Until the body becomes one word

5. Kelsey Lapoint Convenes a Conference of the Birds

Because she was already perfect
A holy blue crane from Ohio
Fell in love with a vulture from Jamaica
The vulture from Jamaica
Because he was a revelator
Who preached the mystery of natural history
Lusted after an eagle from Copenhagen, who was white
But wanted to become a phoenix
And find herself a boyfriend
Blacker than the darkest night

Now the phoenix
Had written an ode to decode the unconscious
And was an asthmatic
Hooked into a mode
Called higher astral mathematics
Saw an opening
A chance to unload the riddle
Rebuke the ritual
That always made her heart freeze up in winter

So she began to sing and dance awkwardly

Wrapped in a cloak of red kief
And ready to rumble
A cardinal appeared
He called himself Louie
St. Louie Louie to be exact

He sang audaciously

“I’m carrying some light. I’m hustling some cream.
I just got back from Italy. You know I’m an artist;
I’m refined, distilled, synthesized. But behind my eyes
I’m god-drunk and live in the basement of a church
Where women reside and the sermons of dolphins redeem
Talking sacred shit and drinking straight Jim Beam
I’m trying to get to London to hook-up with a blue jay
Called ‘hombre’ to prove the present law is a fake; it’s a fraud
What we want to do is negate the letter of the old law
And occupy a parallel universe; show how things are now related
How goodness flows beyond debate into gracious”
So Louie the cardinal, St. Louie Louie to be exact
Hooked up with ‘hombre’ the blue jay
And went looking for hip grail
Sometimes known as hip hop grail
Or Ruby the road running punch drunk robin
Everybody’s favorite daughter, everybody’s favorite son
The one bird in the whole world destined for greatness
The one bird that human beings understood
The homie the hero the self aware higher octave
Evolutionary bullshit bird Bodhisattva
Robin the beloved super bowl Sunday bird
The San Francisco bird
The first bird to bring the word from the inside of the world
To the outer limits

Ruby My Dear
The first bird to rebel against what man had made
And go from flytown to mytown in an Escalade
The first bird that was truly limousine hard
Robin was the bird whose motto became
‘Step out of my dream and into my car’

Way off in the distance
Out toward what some might call a vista
Cooed a whole new bird, called dove
Its word always came with a subtle reverb
This bird traveled in erotic pairs
It was luminous and reveled in its ability to make echoes
To create the high performance of Chicago

Dove loved sculpture
Dove loved poetry
Dove loved love, was obsessed by love
Dove loved any image or idea connected to love
Dove’s love was profligate, optimum, over the top
Dove’s love was electric and often unstable
Dove was able to put powerful visions together
That didn’t seem make sense
For instance, on dove’s front door
There was a picture of Richard Pryor
Pressing a forty-four magnum
Against W. E. B. Dubois’ exposed cranium

Based on a function called inspiration
Dove could move instantly
But sometimes inspiration can be an affliction

One day, on the wings of inspiration
Dove went south to Haiti to see a Houngan
After a short visit, dove moved northwest to Santa Fe
To hang out with a shaman
On the way out of Santa Fe, at a crossroads
Dove found a little bird called finch standing in the way
Now finch never had much to say, had a squeaky voice
Exercised limited choice, didn’t appear to have
A large vocabulary
So some birds didn’t take her seriously
But she had a line she liked
In her high squeaky voice she’d say over and over again
“Pinch me, pinch me, please pinch me”
So, while trying to get out of ‘dodge’ and back to Chicago
To the lap of luxury and the seat of inspiration
A supremely confident, impatient, selfish,
Genetically superior dove, pinched the finch
And became un
Because a pinch of the finch caused other birds
To magically become
Unworthy, unconscious, unleashed, unkempt, un- cool,
Uneducated, untrained, unborn, unnourished, undone,
Un-black, un-European, un-Asian, unimaginative, unbowed,
Unparalleled, unconquered, unloved

The last un didn’t sit particularly well with the dove

The moral at this juncture of the story is
Take the finch seriously?
Although the voice is high and squeaky
It’s no bluff
That in matters started, processed or settled at crossroads
She will definitely ‘fuck you up’

There was this turkey with a diamond screwed into her forehead
She wanted to share her pain
So she hooked up with a hawk called Sam
And a toothless swan called Dave
Together the three took a blood oath
That they’d give up everything
Pay any measure for an introduction
To the treasure of personal power

They gave up ice, mixes and water
So all their drinks came straight, no chaser
They gave up mirrors to avoid the fate of the dove
The loss of their love
They gave up clocks to avoid the grinding down
Of each weary stone step of their lives
They lived for the moment, the last word
Of the last chapter
They waited for the crack in the bell

A smooth door suddenly opened
And out stepped a golden locust called Truth
Wearing red cowboy boots
He said, “Friends you’re a little late.
The debate is over. While you were sharing your pain,
Taking blood oaths, giving up mixed drinks, breaking
Mirrors, stopping clocks and dramatically waiting for
Bells to toll, you missed the debate. You came too late.
Take the expression for what its worth. You came late!
The show has been cancelled. The damsels in distress have
All been saved. The graves have all been opened. While you
Were standing in one spot hollering ‘hold on, I’m coming’,
You missed the resurrection, the redemption. While you
Were in the studio practicing the destruction of silence,
Strength elevated violence and cunning to the absolute psalm
of pinpoint accuracy.”
Mission Statement from the Golden Locust called Truth,
Wearing red cowboy boots
To those who have not seen the Fire and will be called
To an Enforced Illumination:

There will be no more selling of Washington mealy-mouthed
Penny policy life insurance, door to door, on the streets of
Baghdad, Beirut, Port Au Prince, Kigali, Sarajevo,
Or Ramallah. The Ghost Dance is over. The pigeons
Have flown the coop. The eggs are all hollow. There is nothing
Left inside to wake-up. Nobody’s home. The suckers who were
Once born every second of every minute of every hour of every
Day, have finally reclaimed the origin of their names. The clueless
Acceptance of a personal savior is finally revealed as an
Elaborate sowing kit ruling a world devoid of cloth. For
The shnapps-swigging negotiators who never learned to ride
A black mare or care about anybody but themselves, I close
The door permanently. The art of illumination, rotation and
Reverberation exists; it works; but, not for you.

The state of knowing will replace grace. The blood of lambs,
The song of god, romance and religion will be superseded
By the simple human ability to make a decision based on
Deep analysis and access to information. The Buddha came
To end human suffering. I am here to up the ante and walk
Over his cloaked and supine body straight into paradise.

A hummingbird hums. It beats its wings in a market, in a cave,
On a mountain; to pollinate a flower or light a kerosene lamp
It does not have to wear a hat. A man or woman, a big youth
Or small child, will now be allowed to elope to the fourth or fifth
Or even the sixth dimension of reason and comprehension.
The mysterious back door to the brain is a balance to the one
Sign of light that makes the eyes. The triangle that flames
Between the brows is a myth; also, a real organ. Selah.

6. Silence

There was a man who became a bird, a birdman
He called himself the Free Agent
He helped beings find their real names
He did this by seeing the last thought,
Act, or expression of a life

Thus he had seen that Ray Charles’ real name
Expressed in the last thought of his life was
Death Tempo
That Billie Holiday’s true name was
Black Coach of Sorrow
Jean Michel Basquiat’s one name
Decoded at his moment of home going was
Creole Nuclear Strike Against
The Reinforced Bunkers of the History of Art

One day the Free Agent was walking down the street,
He was always the subject of stares and minor catcalls,
When a boy approached, who was called Two Blue Stones,
And began to ask him questions about his birdness
And his manness

The boy said, “How do you walk with those things.
Aren’t they heavy? Don’t they make you tired? Do
You have to wash them all the time? It looks like
They’re dragging the ground. Don’t they make you
Tired?” The Free Agent explained to the boy that the wings
Were his joy; they had a beautiful shape and were
Calming to the touch; they were feathers and therefore
Proverbial and weightless; they emitted light in the dark
They provided coolness in the heat; they were sanctuary
To his being
He told the boy that he considered the negative attention
The wings garnered from people a kind of reverse
God joke; the constant inquisition from the street – “How
You gon’ run carryin them big o’ things, man; how you
Gon get n the party Jim; or, if sump’n go down, how you
Gon’ get out; how you gon’ get some, an if you do, how you
Gon’ see what you getting; how you gon’ fight yo way out
Of a situation with all that shit on yo back, man” – was really
Just an endless love song from people whose absence would
Someday receive the gift of presence from the Free Agent

The boy listened all day to tales of the Free Agent’s entitling
Of people whose real names turned out to be, Just Plain Evil,
Sweet Parts, Good Piece, Falsetto, Witness, Demon Emeritus,
Retired Madman, Belly Growl
and Beautiful Grief

The boy finally asked the Free Agent two things. How does
It feel to always be alone, and when will my time come?
The Free Agent said “Because I can fly and go to the stars
And sky at will, I’m only alone on earth.” To the second
Question he replied, “You’ll know when your time comes.”

So the boy left the temporary presence of the
Free Agent and lived out the drama of his life
In his time
He achieved control of his spiritual energy
He gathered, consolidated and finally accepted
Great learning and aptitude
He developed treacherous strategies to protect
His heart from the lethal correspondence of other beings
He impaled all his experience with holy orders
But, in the end he was exhausted by all his thinking
And forsaken by his mind
So he returned to his body
Because he knew his body would not lie

As he lay in his body and waited
He ever so slowly, came to feel
Impeccable and strangely serene

One day as he was coming home
He noticed a sign at the side of the road
The sign had been in place for all the years
Of his coming and going
It read, ‘You are now entering St. Louis’
As he looked at the sign that day
It very clearly read
‘Welcome to Barackutopia’

His time had come


Image is the painting Thoughts become things by St. Louis artist Kim Richardson.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sali's Ark

For Marcella Sali Grace

By K. Curtis Lyle



I didn’t know her
But I met the spirit of that girl
In her father’s voice
And I recognized her immediately

"Love brings the kind of magic that talent can only dream of" - Nguyen Khai

"It takes a lot of energy to re-invent the world on a daily basis" - Diane Di Prima

"For the true artist, the desire for intensity is stronger than the will for self-preservation" - Rudiger Safranski, NIETZSCHE, A Philosophical Biography

I walk through a door
And then another door
And then another
Through one door there is good food
Through another there is drink, long and full,
And finally the metal hinge of a third door
Sings to me, calls,
And I proceed to the living room

There are patterns of doors laughing, opening and closing,
Multi-colored, multi-layered,
Brown-bronze wood doors hugging beveled glass
Hiding-holding the myth called music, tightly,
Inside petrochemical plastic doors, preserving song-life
That really just wants to open the door, live strong,
And move on

I didn’t know her
But I heard the spirit of that girl
In her father’s voice
And I recognized her immediately

I didn’t know her
But I know warm fresh bread when I taste it
I know the roundness and depth of wine
When it tip-toes or thunders across my palette
I know what I like

I didn’t know her
But I felt the spirit of that girl
In her father’s voice
And I liked her immediately

There was a picture on the wall
That became a door
When her father spoke
When he intoned Sali
That girl came out
Fleet of foot and swift of temper
In a high dance step
And the laws of terror and wonder
The agreements of person and will
Of animal, vegetable and mineral
Lay down at her feet
And listened

Her father was talking to me
But his voice kept saying
Over and over and over again
"Sali, there’s no one in life quite like you"

I didn’t know her
But, fourteen days after she stumbled violently
Through the damp night crime door
Into the reed clay pool of eternity
I dream-wed her in Arab dress and hoop earrings
She had long black temple curls
In classic flame and rhyme
She spoke in the dual languages of God, poetry and time

This is what she said to me:
"With a crescent wrench,
I open a rusted red dumpster door
And turn it into a quick meal of love and ferocity.
Inside that same box of becoming and abandonment
I see a greased and stained brown paper bag
Inside the bag there is a plate with three parts
Holding sloth, con games and misogyny
I jump out of the dumpster, leaving the door open,
Locate a green counter where trades are made
And exchange the bag of sloth, con games and misogyny
For the photostream of parenthood, teaching and sex
Sex becomes mystery, teaching becomes openness,
Parenthood becomes creation
I crown myself again and again and roar, because
I know that at the end of my tongue
There is always the mission of opening doors

I love opening doors
The doors of freight trains become
Womb doors, the doors of rickety country buses
Become heart doors; the flat, wide thump of working feet
Pound the ground and open the doors of perception
So that I might bear witness
To this beautiful being
I love opening doors
And I open them all;
Dream doors, rock doors, bird doors, root doors,
The old school doors of the delta

The warp, the woof, the moisture of perception
I keep the doors open as if they were
My own breath
If a smoking stack signals that freight is on the way
Then this open door surely means
Here is sanctuary

I open the doors of power
That flow from life to life
Like spiritual insurance

I open the self-containing, self-sustaining doors
From behind which my own hermitage anoints her self
By following my seed back to its source

I love doors!

"Don’t be afraid, the clown’s afraid, too" - Charles Mingus

But, I am a soul
Locked-up inside a body
A sailing impoverished circus, Jah clown,
Blood drummer of flared sticks against caribou breasts

I am against submission and the confusion of submission
And the weakness and stupidity of those who agree to submit
The purified water of a clean well
I am somewhere that no one can drink from me
And to know this thing
Is a terrible hurt put on my heart

For you I have opened the door to myself
The clear deep well of my being
From which no one will draw
And to know this thing
Is a terrible hurt put on my heart

There is no honor here where I am, no soul
Nothing authentic or certain; no undeniable faith;
No surety; no crosschecking uncensored system
That guarantees continuity or salvation or flow

No Krishna, no Buddha, no Judah, no sweet Jesus,
No paradise of lost and found Islam
Riding the blow holes of clairvoyant dolphins

The signposts change instantly
One reads, "God made love to a blue duck in this doorway"
Another answers graphically, "Who the fuck cares?"

There is coolness here; a shadow,
That mimics real darkness
It tells me to cherish my losses
And that defeat is sweeter than victory
It tells me that in order to open the door to love
I have to bend my knee and submit to the other love,
The degradation of love; then consistently practice the ritual
Of negative courage; but,
I have already stated that I am against submission
And the weakness and stupidity of those who agree
To submit to anything; but, I am confused
In my heart, which is my soul locked-up inside my body

There is no question here
That can be answered by simply
Paying attention
Everything changes
A golden light becomes a guitar
"I don’t want to be God, but I can’t stand being human"

Everything changes
"I am ancient, but I am not old"

Here, where I am, there is odor, taste, sight, feeling, sound,
Acute awareness
And the six additional perfected senses
Proximity, delicacy, coordination, no pity, consecration
That make-up the songs of the chief speakers
Of the refuge of the open door

I am one with them
I sit in an ark of song, a kind of mystic chorale,
Forever in a chariot of butterflies without fingerprints
Praising and thanking caterpillar you
Whose mind first made
By chanting the overwhelming mantra of silk

I now eat submission;
Weakness and stupidity
Have become the found meal of my life

I have given All there is to give"



“Beyond the reach of scorn,
Lust is freed of its vulgar face”
- Bob Kaufman, Poet

I was blinded and marvelous
I practiced scorn and preached lust
I was the sinner, who saddled up the old gray mare
Then had a full grown Celtic rune for lunch

Whenever I lost my footing
I passed myself off as chocolate pudding

They didn’t know the difference
Between a mastectomy and masturbation
Between the pursuit of happiness and dead meat
Traveling to market in refrigerated cars
Between freedom and the fenced-in pasture
A few feet away
Between an American endgame
And the cold blooded aftermath of victory
Between the stumbling campaign trail of speech
As justice and humiliation
And the perfect pitch of music as the science of combination

They had never walked to the other side of the tracks
Or ambled off into a mist
They were professionals who didn’t know how
To communicate deep needs
They had given up crack for cocaine
And returned to California

Their demented toddlers were penciled into M.I.T. at birth
And wore personalized monogrammed bib and overalls
For them a breast was a permafrost Blackberry
Poised to become an immovable titty-to-a-star

For them glass was real
Pasteurized glistening relief was real
The calibrated-strawberry-double-mocha-café-latte
Morning- rich-bitch- stroll was real

For me sheep fondling the nipples of gazelles was real
Billy goats suckling lions and buzzards
Circling the submerged teats of whales was real

I feared extinction, but could live forever
They had no fear and were nearly finished

They were a loud crowd of human beings
Who had never learned to cherish seeing in silence

I was a thief who crept onto the back porch
At dawn and stole the baby’s milk



“Without tinges of Spanish in the music, one will never achieve the right seasoning”
- Jelly Roll Morton

She was dark as the song of the border
She was cut from the mold of the night
But the day was her home, she was a Spanish girl

The pain that she carried inside her
Was a message the old woman had buried
She was alone with the mark of love

She came into town unescorted
She was looking for him unadorned
He was the Sherif of Love

Their eyes were sunlight and moonlight
Needing to meet at a corner of town
Set aside, for the dance of love

When one thing leads to another
Desire becomes love and love turns the flesh
Of a girl, into a woman’s love

When one thing leads to another
Desire becomes love and love turns the flesh
Of a boy, into a man’s love

So they rode out of town together
Rode back to the mold of the night
And their eyes never came back to the border town

The young Sherif and his lady
Came down from the mountains of light
To plant a child deep in a river bed

In a stream that ran wet against water
They threw down their net and pulled up a spoonful
Of love, it was a baby girl

She had one tight dark curl on her forehead
Earlobes that shimmered like gold
White satin fingers and toes

Young men tore open their collars
Ripped off their shirts and offered their hearts
As food for the baby girl

Young women ran out from their houses
And started to bloom in the cracks of the street
At the sound of the baby girl

The young Sherif and his lady
Rode back to the mountains of light
With the baby girl, wrapped in a river bed

The desert had lifted her head up and sifted her tears
Away from the dark lines of light
Set her free in the deepest night

She remembered the song of her mother
That was dark and attached to the mold of the night
Leading her heart back, to the border town

The doves made their nests in her shoulders
The rocks spoke to her of her mother’s first love
As she rode alone toward the border town

She was coming back into the circle, unbroken
And carrying love, just like her mother had come
To find the Sherif of Love

As she entered the border town unescorted
She saw the sun lying down in the plaza of life
Unadorned, he was the Sherif of Love

The banks of their love held a river
A torrent of song was unleashed
They rode the raft of love

* Sherif – a descendant of Mohammed through his daughter Fatima


“Ride the Moon, Hide the Sun, Watch the Grass Grow,
Black Adobe Eagle”

Sali was a river
Wet for everyone
A prophet with singer’s eyes
A poet in disguise

Emptied her heart

She bred bone and beauty to her beast
Flew with patience to the desert
Tied her home to the stillness of the sea

Emptied her heart

She mastered will and love
She mastered what a man or woman
Should be

Emptied her heart

Refused to be washed
In the same simple blood
Of the angry lamb

She said, “Be adored by your children. Be devoted to your friends.
Pay homage to teachers. Venerate the ones who lived before.
Hosanna your daddy. Hallelujah your mama. Hymn your brother
and sister. Sacrifice little things. Full court press your self
to joy. Pin your self to pain like a latchkey kid. Calm disease.
Serve and thank and breathe.
Carry a horn full of good food in a weather beaten basket. String it down from your collarbone to the sealed crease of your left thigh.

Instead of the absence of the why, choose the presence of the why not.”

Sali was a river
Wet for everyone


For John, Catherine and Claire Eiler

“A black Flamenco tear consumes the night.
You are now free, Sali.”

Marcella Grace she caught on fire
Went downtown to a funeral pyre
Came home in pieces on her shield
How can you feel just what I feel?

Marcella Grace she went downtown
Thought she’d change the asbestos clown
Came home in embers on her shield
How can you feel just what I feel?

Marcella Grace she caught on fire
Burned-up in her own desire
Came home a cinder on her shield
How can you feel just what I feel?

Marcella Grace she went downtown
Washed their feet and kissed the ground
Came home in ashes on her shield
How can you feel just what I feel?

Marcella Grace she caught on fire
I pile her memory stone up high
Came home dust her spirit sealed
How can you feel just what I feel?

Marcella Grace she went downtown
Communed with Love and Death and found
That what is live is always real
How can you feel just what I feel?



Cleaning her grave at sunrise
Sweeping the dust off of the stone
Cleaning her grave at sunrise
Sweeping the dust off of the stone
Where she fell down
Where she fell down
All her love went wrong
All her love went wrong

Door had opened up at midnight
Before I had a chance to look and see
Door had opened up at midnight
Before I had a chance to look and see
She was standing in high water
She was standing in high water
Couldn’t reach her hand to me
Couldn’t reach her hand to me

Between us there was something waiting
It was black and sweet and old
Between us there was something waiting
It was black and sweet and old
I was trying to close the distance
I was trying to close the distance
She was trying to beat the cold
She was trying to beat the cold

Time makes love go blind
Cannot find the way back home
Time makes love go blind
Cannot find the way back home
How bad you want your baby
How bad you want your baby
How can you be alone?
How can you be alone?


“O Death, where is thy sting;
O Grave, where is thy victory”
1 Corinthians 15:55

Plato banned me from his Republic
Because he thought my song too bold
A Mongol unsouled me in a stream near Nishapur
King Henry cut me down while I was kneeling on the floor
In Canterbury Cathedral
When I was Olaf
A ‘good ol’ bird Colonel tried to downpress my blonde word
Into a toilet bowl
I served as keeper of the dream
Until 659 rays cut me down
Like a rabid dog of love
At Sweet Lorraine in Memphis
I am Sali from Oaxaca when a cannibal
Grinds me up like junk food
For poison mills
But I’m still Sali, I’m still here
Chanting and holding my breath
Til I bring down the walls of your Republic
Retooling and resouling
Til the stream becomes a river of tender wool and dew
Pierced and bright
Standing, now, in the center of the Cathedral
Laughing at the sight of lions
Playing basketball with lambs
I can’t explain: but, I’m still here
Making a honeycomb from scorpion stew


Sitting cross-legged in a corral
At a military funeral
I am christened by a seer
I become, I beget, serve,
Give the gift of rumbling torrential light
Rise at dawn and lay down
In motionless debt:
One part balance, one part union, one part arrow
Without weight, one part mended morning
All consumed in a fierce living chamber
Of Dizzy Gillespie upward bent horns
Racing turned illuminated roads
Head-pieced together by ecstatic stockcars
Agitated scents rising and falling
Like the hydraulic aroma of demonic big bands
Hyper-riffing on phoenix-pyres
Binding the spare rib cages of un-muffled saints
Be wood and water, too
Email to all killers

Tried to make me bow down
You failed miserably
Tried to break my spirit
Now all you can see is Me
From the deep world of the mothers
My voice comes crashing through
I send out this email to all killers


Sew nylon sutures into all my eyelids
Put your thumbs up into all my nostrils
Superglue all my lips into brain dead silence
You tried to take my hands and break them
With the barcode you call violence
But I’m still here, still Me
Human and willful and heroic, too
Fighting and writing and making
Feats of magick, skill, bravery and daring do

Email to all killers


Email to all killers




Photo by Thom Fletcher from his Flickr site.

Monday, October 20, 2008



It sits in an industrial part of town. The sidewalks are worn down by the million pairs of feet that pound against this concrete mask. They sculpture it into imperceptible oblivion, daily. In the deep night, when the feet of people disappear, the feet of animals, insects, microbes and spirit continue the process. This is an undressed neighborhood. It could have clothes – the hand of industrial haberdashery has been proffered many times – but its particular style of dress is incomprehensible to those who would clothe a town. Those who give never really give. In reality they merely circulate and re-circulate apparel, a garment, a dress, a cloak or coat that can only be called central city hand-me-down. The garish colors, the fraudulent materials based on a petrochemical myth would never do in their own neighborhoods, where the goods are always genuine, even if the design leaves a grease spot, a flat gray stain on the imagination. This place would rather be exactly what it is: an urban trance: a boundless pool set aside for the cooling of an overheated collective unconscious: a clean slate upon which anything might be imprinted in peace.


First you see a purple door. Half way down the right side of the door there's a non-descript white doorknob. Raise your sight line about three feet and move that line twelve inches to the left. You'll see a silver name plate with this legend embossed in black coral: THE EARTH AS A PERFECT PLACE. Open the door. Step into an old square. You're standing on a slab of concrete, freshly poured, that mirrors the dimensions of the room. Four Knights Templar red brick walls stand sentry, roofed by a sheet of transparent aluminum. The east wall is called San Francisco. The north wall is named Los Angeles. The west wall says Oakland. The south wall is imprinted with name Berkeley, in small letters. These are the names of the cities of the plains of Downtown Atlantis. There are no tables in this restaurant; neither are there chairs. The lighting is natural, consisting of sunlight, moonlight, or, perhaps even starlight. There's no kitchen. However, each wall has the legend 'Menu' stapled in gold against the red brick.

San Francisco, at the gate of the east wall, has a list of five offerings. They read from top to bottom:


The dark angel city, Los Angeles, the north wall, lists only one dish:


Oakland is a town that faces west into the dusk. It is filled with the prophecies it brought up out of Texas. Here we go:


Berkeley, a house of gnosis and water in small letters, has just one prize:


Look up! There's William Blake on the roof feeding Billie Holiday:


DOWNTOWN ATLANTIS: A Brief History of the Food

LAZARUS BROWN BISCUITS: These biscuits are made only in a small northwestern Alabama town called, Tuscumbia, and are renowned for their incredible lightness. Local rumor, ancient myth, folk tale and scuttlebutt state that these biscuits have actually been known to create the physical sensation of levitation.

MATRIMONY TEA: This exotic brew was first concocted in Seattle in the waning months of World War II. It is said to be capable of breaking down all the inhibitions of newlyweds – moral, ethical, racial, sexual – that might still linger after taking the ultimate vow. It has a mild hallucinogenic quality. Apocryphal tradition says that king Solomon damn near overdosed on this tea as he was sitting down to write his song.

ASPARAGUS SERMONS DIPPED IN CANDIED GOSPEL HAMS: This is the staple food of a particular class of defrocked transvestite ministers based in Washington, D.C.

BLACK CHRISTMAS PUDDING: Black Christmas pudding is a well-known dessert that shows up on the Christmas spreads of many inner-city black families, in St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Houston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Memphis, Atlanta, Birmingham and Kansas City. There's nothing unusual about the contents of this pudding. The name is what gives it its flavor. The following drama is what gives it its notoriety.

A rice pudding is placed on a table in front of an undetermined number of poor, hungry, angry, and able-bodied black people. Silverware is not necessary! The pudding is set down on the table in four or five old porcelain, rectangular pans. The pans are uncovered.
Hands fly at the pudding from every direction. They scoop, snatch and grab and then scoop, snatch and grab some more until there 'ain't no mo'. Thus, we get the name Black Christmas pudding.

OXTAILS SUPREME: This is an East St. Louis special. In the early twentieth century, young and old black men from East St. Louis used to cross over into St. Louis to liberate the oxtails that were the disdained – delicate for some – leavings of a work day in the stockyards of their larger and more prosperous neighbor. This secret extraction could only be done after midnight, after the killing ground was temporarily shut down.

The oxtail bandits would arrive exactly at 11:18 p m. They would slip into the yard and wait for time to close. They would gather the sacred refuse, wrap them in old newspaper, stuff them into eighty pound burlap sacks, slip out of the yard and head home. There was one small problem. The toll bridges back to East St. Louis closed at midnight. The oxtail bandits only had two choices; they could wait for the bridges to open at 4:00 a.m. – risk getting caught by security guards at the toll booths and possibly letting the food spoil from exposure to the elements – or they could swim across the river. They chose to swim.

Try swimming the Mississippi at midnight ferrying an eighty pound sack of oxtails. Believe me you have to be supremely confident, supremely desperate or supremely crazy.


Despite its name and the magical connotations, this field rice is fairly ordinary. It takes its name from Herman Melvin De Ville, a brother from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. De Ville had an interesting story and led a life that was both cursed and blessed.

He was imprisoned as a child for a food theft from a white man's grocery store in Tuscaloosa. He did nineteen years for this robbery. He was fourteen when he got busted and thirty-three when he got out.

Sending off for a mail order degree in Ministerial Science, he used the alleged significance of his release from prison at thirty-three years old to begin his career as a circuit-riding evangelist. Being freed and coming to maturity at the identical age at which Jesus Christ was crucified, became Herman's spiritual shtick.

On the long, lonely road of the backwoods evangelist he began to read extensively. He also, unbeknownst to himself or his peers, had a profound gift for mimicry and a photographic memory. Because he was essentially a man without money, an intellectual mentor, or any kind of personal direction, he read whatever he could get his hands on. What he could get his hands on were periodicals, how-to-texts and foreign grammars. Herman, amazingly, began a regimen of study that in the short space of five years saw him go from backwoods illiterate to master of obscure and esoteric world languages. At one time he was the only person in the continental United States fluent in Basque, Bosno-Islamic, Rwandan, Haitian Creole, Akuan Angolan - spoken as an indecipherable code by members of the Cuban Politburo - and the three dialects extant on the Korean peninsula.

In the late twentieth century, when the countries where these languages were spoken became international hot spots, the State department, after extensive research and analysis, discovered that Herman Melvin De Ville was the only American who could fill the immediate need of translator / interpreter for these critical arenas.

Herman became, for a short time, an international celebrity. However, he was a man who held grudges. His nineteen years of incarceration, thirteen of them held in a semi-dark solitary confinement, had created in him a resentment against white men that bordered on the pathological. In prison he had issued many psychic arrest warrants; his being had sworn numerous epithets from the inside out; he had carved a lot of oaths into his own heart, but he'd only kept one. He swore he'd never take an order, advice, even a suggestion from a white male. This created a problem when an American negotiator suggested that Herman tell his North Korean counterpart, in no uncertain terms, that unless their was complete compliance with agreed upon United Nations sanctions, the negotiations were essentially over. It wasn't the suggestion so much as the tone that set Herman off. The words, "In no uncertain terms", ground migraine-like into Herman's head. It sounded like an ultimatum. Although, the American was asking Herman to pass the ultimatum on to the Korean negotiator in diplomatic language, by the time the rational had caught up to Herman's prison-induced irrational oath, it was too late. Herman's ego, which was paper-thin anyway, had cut-off the American with, "Motherfucker, tell him your goddamn self".

It wasn't the 'motherfucker' – the negotiator was after all, a soldier - so much as the 'your goddamn self' that offended the American. Something about Herman's deeply black inflection seemed to take the language beyond profanity and push it into the realm of a personal insult, maybe even a curse.

The mission was doomed. Herman had fucked-up the process. He was accused of being a North Korean sympathizer. Passing Go, he was lucky his ass didn't go straight back to jail.

He was cashiered out of service to his country. It was worse than a bad conduct discharge. He was denied his benefits!

He returned to Tuscaloosa. He gave up the circuit-riding game. He went into the business of growing simple field rice. He called his company Hermetic Rice.

State your business, go away quietly and you won't get hurt. Right?

PALM WINE: This has been called a true capitalist brew. The story goes that Chris Columbo, an Italian sea captain, bigamist, wine merchant and small time pimp, was able to trade a cargo of West African slaves for a small palm wine plantation on a West Indian island. This island would some centuries later become one of the Virgin Islands, St. John. The slaves and their descendants, of course, remained to work the land. Columbo's youngest son came to the colonies in a later time to run his daddy's plantation. Seduced by the tropic warmth and African spiritual depth, he remained in the islands, married black and created the first great palm wine plantation in the western world.

HALLELUJAH WINGS: These are ordinary chicken wings. Sometimes, because of the seasoning, they're called Buffalo wings. Club owners used to lay them out for touring rhythm and blues bands and soul reviews from the late 30's to the early 60's. After a few months on the T. O. B. A. (Theater owners Booking Association, also known as 'tough on black asses') circuit, a young singer / instrumentalist would be heard to exclaim, at any sign of hospitality, comfort, or just plain human warmth, hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HAMITIC PEPPERS: This is a pseudonym for Jamaican ganja. It was brought down from the Blue Mountains in coffee sacks, along the same stone paths that Amerindian and African slaves had built for the British and the Spanish armies in order for the conquerors to occupy the island. Rastafarians, in later years, could be heard chanting during their ascents and descents of the same mountains along the same stone paths, "Death goes up the mountain, and life comes down".

GIVE UP THE GHOST CORNBREAD: This is another food that is named and coded for both physical and spiritual nourishment. It's a really sweet cornbread, first dipped in a dry desert honey and then soaked for a week in plum wine from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The 'ghost' in the name was a code for sexual favors. Usually these favors were fleeting, given and received in corners and alcoves of small dark rooming houses and the back rows of segregated movie theaters. The combination of the name made the sex somehow less sordid and the nourishment more basic and authentic; it made the emotional quest for sex the equivalent of the physical need for food, clothing and shelter. It made living larger.

YAM LOAF: This is a straight code. There is no food here. Yam loaf is a group of women who are ancient and true and primal.

TEXAS SKY GREENS: This is a jazz musician's designation for another musician who is on the verge of leaving the homestead and heading out toward a bigger and better world. Greens is Texas talk for something – an idea, a technique, a stylistic development – that is so fresh, that the freshness itself, the newness, has taken the place of personal need or ambition and is now in control of the nature of things. Texas Sky Greens is a designation for the descent of the Holy Spirit.

TRIPLE DIPPED TORAH PLUMS: These are women or men who remain in a long-lasting relationship or marriage. They are with you when you start, with you when you are flying, and right there with you where and when you land. They accept the whole deal, ride every minute on the wheel of whoever you are or were or ever will be.

HOLY WATER, REGENERATION SOUP, TIME WAFERS: These are three unpublished poems of William Blake.

PASCHAL PEAS, APOSTLE BEANS, KWANZA STEW: These six words were found scribbled on the bottom sheet of Billie Holiday's death bed. Their meaning has never been deciphered.