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.

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