• Urban Renewal (lxxviii.)

    Major Jackson

    Winter 2023

    I treasure any man who fashions his walk
    after the woodcock’s sky dance,
    and any woman who turns her neck
    so that her body resembles a candle, so we’d glance
    on all her secret fires and wonder
    where do we come from, what fording place,
    what delicacies of light the Dutch Masters
    caught divining a window or bowl of figs and dates.
    We cannot afford anymore Elmer’s bayoneting
    children on the streets of Oakland or algal blooms
    declaring war on the cormorant, or the bad debts
    of the Tennessee warbler who has just resumed
    on my shingled roof his mortal complaint
    of our ingenious takeovers. Hey, are you
    blazing like Vermeer’s paintbrush?

    Major Jackson is the author of A Beat Beyond: Selected Prose of Major Jackson edited by Amor Kohli. He is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University.

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