Rock! Paper! Scissors!
Tools for anarchist + Christian thought and action
Vol 2. No. 1
Art Against Empire
Art Against Empire
Guest editor: Ewuare X. Osayande
By: Darlene Anita Scott
UNITS OF MEASURE
“Gaddafi was ousted from power in August, and his whereabouts have been unknown for months. The Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, accused Libya’s former ruler of crimes against humanity.”
Slick against the tongue’s pebbles
like corn syrup in a too sweet drink
afterthought coating the arch bowed
around the tonsils as if to ease every-
thing else past them. Hold grain & grit
captive: ‘I was here’ they coat the gums
& cheeks like dirty notes on the bath-
room tile shiny, crisp, & certain those
sharpies. Your mouth accepts it.
Makes of it whatever you decide.
Dancers pop crotches against metropolis
skylines in music videos playing in Goree
on 23rd Street. Grilled lamb bones disperse
rosemary & garlic after he takes all he will.
We don’t call this a date. I taste his lamb;
he my yams. Plus we giggle. Like my niece
tests her vocabulary, slippery is everything.
The overcooked rice piddled to the edge
of the plate is firm, decisively undesirable.
Your mouth refuses it. Instigates questions
the chef uses to measure likelihood of our return.
I could have told him that never works.
My niece is a blitz of questions; she saw
the execution. A coup of sweat, blood;
so many hands challenged in their grip
of the offender, claiming they’ve held
this opportunity in the damp of sheets
after night sweats, yield he collected
without permission or due time. I can’t
explain. The body is any bone or flesh
claimed by name; ephemera, vernacular,
emblem. I only have poetry, and mine.
They have never saved me from nightmares.
I know there is always a measure of sympathy
when grunts or bodily fluid are involved. I see
the wrinkles in his nose, can’t ask my niece to
cataract over the expression or the curses of
his tormenters: Why are they so mad though? I try
to choose gratitude that she doesn’t notice the
bayonet, stripping what passes some days for
manhood. There’s no measure for that.