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Conductors Of His Mystery

from Migratory Poets by Adam Pierończyk With Anthony Joseph

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for Albert Joseph
The day my father came back from the sea
he was broke
but he was handsome
I s aw him walking across the savannah
and knew at once it was him.
His soulful stride, the grace of his hat,
the serifs of his name were
~ flu ttering ~
in my mouth.
In his bachelor’s room in El Socorro that year
he played his 8-tracks through a sawed-off speaker box.
The coil would rattle an the cone would hop
but wo men from the coconut groves
st ill came to hear
his traveller’s tales.
Sh op he say he build by Goose Lane junction.
But it rough from fabricated timber string.
Picka foot jook wood
like what Datsun ship in.
And in this snackette he sold red mango,
mints and tamarind.
Its w ire mesh grill hid his suffer well tough.
Ti ll the shop bust,
and he knock out the boards and roam east
to Enterprise village.
Shack he say he build same cross-cut lumber.
Wood he say he stitch same carap bush.
He kin da grew ambitious with wood
in his middle ages.
And th at night I spent there,
with the cicadas in that clear village sky,
even t hough each room was still unfinished
and each sadness hid. I was with
my father
and I would’ve stayed
if he had asked.
Brown suede,
8 eye high
desert boots. Beige
gabardine bells with the 2 inch folds.
He was myth. The legend of him.
I reme mber once I touched the nape of his boot
to see if my father was real.
Beyon d the brown edges of photographs
a nd the songs we sang
to s ing him back
fro m the sweep and sea agonies
of his distance.
Landslide scars. He sent no letters.
His sm all hands were for the fine work of his carpentry.
His fingers to trace the pitch pine’s grain.
And the raised rivers of his veins,
the thick rings of his charisma,
the scars–the maps of his palms–
were the sweet conductors of his mystery.
Aiyé Olokun.
He came back smelling of the sea


from Migratory Poets, released May 6, 2015


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