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 Harmony HOLIDAY

                      An excerpt from
                      a book called MAAFA



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Maybe         it         is         time     to         devour     one     another    
this grandiose sharing    
could     be         the     new

The brainwave patterns of 40 subjects were officially coded with spoken words and silent thoughts

A violent indoctrination we placated to learn to read

What a boring patience         the one for     freedom

Here is Jimmy Baldwin in his apron greasing a pan                some landline intervenes an endlessly
ringing     earth             revelations     (     I been ‘buked and

The other side of heartbreak is not ambition

        crimson gauze         wrapped in god’s suicide

Some genocide is god’s     suicide        adjacent and remote        a gory form of favoritism
Shot 44 times         in the head         they announce     readily
I will not         dream         only     of     security     and     safety

&     he’s never     planning to     be a minister     in this version     just gestures     of church     and grease

so duress         so wreckage         so woodshed bound in         skeletal minstrel         so rope         around the
season skit         when Maafa         catch up with         season of         the witch

        we    made    the     calamity    famous    endless

because it is not (yet) sublimated rage

His     craven     childhood             a rubric     for     the silly     hope     we     all     hide     in     our         skin         buckets         of
candy         &         the sweetness never         expires but its sucre fades         to the faint     funk     of         daylight         in
a B         movie

The bad     deed of having fake     anatomy         links       cabaret         to     a     brightly lit machine

And it occurs to me these ruins     are     the     blighted     heave     of     an     undone     trance     and         we
might        even        love        them        &             ourselves


a        mass            of            habit-tensed    muscle    unfolding        into    the    archive of        vengeance

    a        delicate        jest        inside    of    which            sharing    became    my    coherence

We are atonal here        and    combed    out        god’s dialog        so    glad

In disaster’s    sigh            byebye        Tomorrow    dies    of     longing    and    we    go    right    on        walking

                          No one ever told you how much you can heal in one day

Is it too solicitous?

Is it to make such    beautiful sounds        or affect        infected with such beautiful sounds

Is it the herd instinct    that makes     words    go    round        worlds    drowned    like    poison

I heard most people don’t experience    catastrophic    violence

Pity them            watch Fletcher    Henderson    do a    time    step            He’s    so    lightskinned

    Has a Hitler mustache        speck of babble in the stillness of him        feet pattering like a police baton

Not that it’s    bad        to vaguely    resemble    your    very own            enemies

All of life    is    predicated    on    a    certain    degree    of    possession

Not    that the    ruins    are    in    exile        from    themselves        for    resembling their enemies’     fantasies

A litany        a   plan

Or        a floating tendon        useful for early    mystical initiation            a slur or    tie

Rich Homie Qwan    or Buddy Guy        even Richie Havens            Where does an improvisation    begin    and    fizzle

Like some    relations            or    no    relation    at    all

George Clinton    is    crying    in my    arms

how        an    altruistic    caution    has    a    hinge        on        him    and he’ll        never get to be        maudlin    again

Lonnie Holley’s        howling    began    then

Moralizing    captivity        that    viral   riffing        he calls high lonesomeness

bipolar    jonesing        what if I rip your heart out      and turn it into     a     supermarket

The ruins    mention    that    we    were    here            the demolition    mentions    our    omission

The crackle    of    fragments            Miles    whispering    in    my    ear            by    the        pool

Monk    spinning    his    muteness        into        rule            visible    tyranny        of        good        sounding

Duke    Ellington    chartering            the    mission    of    poise    in    his    vocal        tone            accusing    himself

Of    everything            play that again        look    how    she    ate    that        He collapses


Harmony HOLIDAY—born in Waterloo, Iowa—is a poet and choreographer. The daughter of Northern Soul singer/songwriter Jimmy HOLIDAY, her father died when she was five, and she and her mother moved to Los Angeles. HOLIDAY earned a BA in rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley and an MFA at Columbia University. She is the author of NEGRO LEAGUE BASEBALL (2011), winner of the Fence Books Motherwell Prize; a “dos-a-dos” book featuring poetry, letters, and essays, GO FIND YOUR FATHER / A FAMOUS BLUES (Ricochet Editions, 2013); and HOLLYWOOD FOREVER (Fence Books, 2017), which she is turning into an afroballet. HOLIDAY is currently working on a biography of Abbey Lincoln.


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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