Mingus Octopus

Oprah’s coming to an end, a kind of apocalypse for many. Here’s an old poem in celebration:

Mingus Octopus

Oprah’s on TV fucking crying again
crying crying at all those gentle folk
who change others’ lives
through acts of gentleness.

And so they get their letters, maybe
themselves, in the nation’s eye.
A phenomenon I have often
noticed, like finches. Or feral pigeons

in Cape Town’s Company Gardens.

Meanwhile, Mingus’s going
absolutely apeshit in my bedroom
moaning moaning oh lord
moaning about the Ku Klux Klan:

They something this, something that
they brainwash and teach you hate.
And he’s not Miles.
No, Miles isn’t Mingus,

doesn’t quite get there, you know
up there, hauling that big black
bass out as if it’s the heart of it all.
Mingus thou pluckest me out

changing your motherfucking chords
like God furious at creation
not knowing what or where switching
firmament light land or how

and himself the lord in it. Oh!
He is in it like the darkness
on the face of the deep. Yeah,
what do they know

of disjuncture, Mingus, my heart?
And when I walk into the room
there you are big fucking octopus
soft-headed, squashed

in that corner, but you got me
can you get this? Me, sagging
in your arms like a pale
Victorian heroine

frighted at your thud of bass,
your eighty thousand tentacles
all around me like I’m the bass
you play. Me, you play me

and I let you, I let you.

From This Carting Life, 2005, © KwelaBooks/Snail Press/Rustum Kozain


One Response to Mingus Octopus

  1. Thank you for a great post.

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