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Wind knocks the Earth,
Like a heavy hand,
In an array of bird feathers and salt.
All perpendicular to this axis
(A display it is known for.)
It then shoots the leaves,
Into the throats of old men
Until they suffer quickly and die,
And all aged die.

Sun splashes its colour on sleepy sands,
Like a hairy brush,
And again.
Brighter and hungrier.
Stretching until it blinds,
Its enraged heat begins to roam,
Charcoaling children,
Turning their backs to black,
And their souls to smoke.
Their screams become a yellow substance that quickly fades into dust and a whisper and a careless stroke.
Another hue,
Made by an unknown hand,
On the canvass of retardation.
Where my eyes sit,
Portraited.

But I stay adrift, still.
amidst the music,
Of dissenting waves.
A lone parachute of parts,
Channeling the multitudes who
Had died with me.
Sauntering our spirits in the Ocean’s thickness.
Letting the waves embrace our souls in the heavy confusion
Of waters.
The reflections reflecting nothing but our flawed emancipations.
Like the weighty ghosts of pirates that try to make conversation, as if running from their own company.
The exodus beams in the eyes of sunken ships,
Bony and weary.
Like songs that have lost their hold on tongue.Decorated for the end of things.
And History bends at its calves like swollen gums,
Cavities in cacophonous chapters,
Upon the seabeds that refuse to accept our exhaustion like kisses.
But martyrs must be martyrs.
And rest does not belong to us.

– JSL.

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Sorry.

Sorry is the wayfaring stranger,
That always wants a place to stay ”just for tonight”
And who are our lips to ever refuse such a memorable face?
What we do not know is that
Sorry is a deep sleeper,
It elicits the full use of muscle,
And windpipe.
So that when we breathe,we
Breathe for two or six.

And slowly you start to talk to Sorry.

Does Sorry seem shy at first?
Don’t worry it’ll come around.
It always does.
All it takes is a few smiles and an invitation to drink with the boys on Thursdays.

Does Sorry read Sophocles?
Does he enjoy intelligent conversation?
Yes,Sorry can help you with homework.
Yes,Sorry knows all the arguments.

Does Sorry have nice clothes?
Sorry is a fashionista.
The glamour girl that has graced every cover.
It looks great in a knee-length ‘hi’
And can pass for a size 8 in a plunging ‘I understand’,
Sorry knows all the new styles.
The revolution will die but Sorry will give your mouth sex appeal.

Sorry is the hard drug
We do not see commercials about,
More and more people die from the abuse of this substance than from war or disease.
Sorry is the number one killer of men.

But Sorry is also my brother
And Sorry is your sister.
Sorry wore a hat.
And Sorry went to high-school with you,
Sat on the same row and gave you a harmonica for your birthday.

So when Sorry has you in its
Choke hold it sometimes feelsLike an uncle’s advice or a nephew’s singing.It can feel like the gentle whisper of a Mother or a lover.

So,do you sleep with Sorry?

Do you share your plans with Sorry?

Do you have a child with Sorry?

Did you take Sorry to meet your parents?

Do you ask Sorry if it feels comfortable in your own bed?

Do you watch Sorry eat your food while your neck dangles in hunger and call it love?

So is there a reason your mouth tastes lived-in?
Like it has housed something other than the rows of your teeth?

Do your gums bleed?
Does your mouth smell?
No,it is not your toothpaste.
No,the dentist cannot help.

And no,Sorry is not sorry.

– JSL.

The cause remains
Still.
But the voice has gathered tenor.
A strange cantus firmus.
Like influenza.

Now the proselytizers itch.
Because their hands cannot lift the poetry
That weakens them.

The pedagogy of pen
Is a wiry truth.
A ring for the finger
Who will be slave to it.

Allow yourself the burden of initiation,
The weakness of man
Becomes the manning of weakness.

But do not mistake this for poetry,
A mere fashioning of written word
No,this is the decay of soul,
A maggotry of self,
The unwooling of sheep,
And unfuring of wolf.

Carcassed in red.
Our fingers sway,
Like we had planted them in veins.

This is my Dillavery,
The bass of heart as it is caught in h(alf-b)eat

Come,
Taste the Earth on my palms,
Watch the passing of time in my vowels.
Bleed your curiosity on my grotesque,
Nigga.

This is uncouth.
Unworthy of tongue.

But if you would count the rows of my teethThen you will find that not all sins are to be forgiven.
And not all sinners to be found.

I have lived long enough to know
That unless a man learns to speak to himself,
he will never truly master the tool of language,
So give me a voice not different from my own,
And let your retorts be the things I have coughed.

The serenade stands statuesque,
A rhapsodic mo(nu)ment,
Martyred in rain and dust.

Do not breathe.
Lest you mistake the inhale for
A sign that Air hath no better nest.
Than the watery graves of your chest.

Do not breathe.
Lest you mistake the uprising for
outpouring.

Do not read this like
It is something that will wait.
Read it in a hurry,
Before your eyes remember to blink.
And if this is the last time our paths cross this ghastly page
Lay me down with the rest of your ghosts,
Beneath the throats of empires.

The story of what we once were,
Now a distant hum of grasshoppers.

-JSL.

Poetic Justice.

I write songs in these poems,

Dedicated to you.

I build wars

in these lines,

look

At all the people I slew.

Feel the tremble of my treble
As it works its way around your shoulders,
Familiarising itself with the shape of your bones.
Back and forth,
Like a scavenger.

Let your fists form,
Where my sentences break,
And let my q curve
With the nape of your neck

Like poetic justice.

If your chest swells
With the curvature of my strokes
Would you bend with me?
Until the only justification we need
Can be found in the spaces
These words contain.

Floating ribbons
Have a song,
There’s a thing they do
Like da da da da..
It reminds me of
The way your hair blows
In rhyme and metre.

How every strand sways thick
With metaphor,How your back alludes to a lost continent,And your eyes the alliterations of legend.

The breaths you breathe
Are euphemisms for
Unequivocal shards of glass
That sink deep into the fingers
Of gods who’ve been away too long.

There are no Kendrick Lamar songs for the way
Your epicanthic folds are
The places paradoxes go to
Find meaning and a glass of water,
So we would sit in this silence
Until it raps to our thirst

Swagger in step.
Step in swagger.

Straddling punchlines like a death bed.
Like a death bed’s remix.

I just had an epiphany.

Now,if I told you that a flower bloomed in a dark room
How would you hold it?
Would you start by tickling my petals with songs that refuse to make love to tongues?
Or would you let the tears from your eyes bathe my fragrant essence into submission?

Of course there would be nowhere left to grow.
Because there are not enough Poes and enough Brownings to inspire the leaps we take in these verses.

And muses have a time to die.

We would stop short,
We would fall,
Because there are punctuations
We do not yet know how to use.
Because we are all the poems
We have not finished.

-JSL

Avail.

Thick clouds –
A comity of night chiefs
On behalf of me.

Troubadour.

To be read on the wide balconies of ‘if only’.

According to formative epistemology,
I was born without
Knowledge of your shape.
I did not learn to walk
Because I could feel
The electric nodes of
Your spine beckon.

The Corpuscular Theory of Light
Should explain how your face
Travels in silver wavelengths at speeds that do not exist.
How the photons that emit and absorb fill my skull with deafening white.

I would breathe you like a Norwegian folktale just so
You would see in realtime
How my lungs rupture to contain the air of you.

The Nubian monuments should tell us how your eyes shed tears of Large Magellanic Clouds and leave supernova remnants in the places where your skin folds.

In between Ever and Never
Is a Nile,
Where only merchants who fastened
The sound of your name to their throats could pass.
As their teeth grounded their tongues into a  mesh of discordant hymns.

In between Ptolemaic pieces of pharaonic phaetons is a stale song
That phoenixes in time to be the gusts of wind that dance through your hair.

In between me and you is a forever
Of silence,but I remain the singer of your praises.
The soul that bleeds ink and incandescent droplets of Babylon.

Faithful,always.

-JSL.

Pa.

Man holds child –
Fires brew in the unending
Beat of two hearts.

– JSL.

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