étude op. 15, no. 1
(in liminal between objective and subjective pianistic expression)
as parameter would have it,
friends in high places keeping him high.
he keep an improvisational notebook
curled up with him,
sucking his thumb in the fetal position
constantly revising in speculating.
they swear he sleep.
is up on st. nick’s striving.
his jowl rest her hand in quaver.
is nostalgic a symptom, an asymptote for reaching
she wants to crush he compose.
woke up in sky in his sleep with her.
he couldn’t if he tried.
baby, take us
on tour in that blue sky lincoln.
that launch is chirpy, time-manufacturer, that
remainder, murmuring bellflowers in votive sway.
sometime all it need is a little shake.
not this measure though. next, maybe.
restless leg a lot.
is that enamor escaping through his
abscesses with every labored breath?
mary lou, i’m sick. wonder can you help me?
spin out further and further
from searching and unarrive. repeat:
dabble of keyboard, the most radiant
radials. anything that happened to him
went into his ears and came out of his fingers.
makalani bandele is an Affrilachian Poets and Cave Canem fellow. He has also received fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council, Millay Colony, and Vermont Studio Center. He attends the University of Kentucky in pursuit of an MFA in Poetry. His work has been published in several anthologies and widely in print and online journals, including Prairie Schooner, 32 Poems, and North American Review, to name a few. His latest manuscript, under the aegis of a winged mind, was awarded the 2019 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize and will be published in September 2020. hellfightin’ is his only other full-length collection of poems.