Today's poem is by Adrian Matejka

Language Mixology

Half brother of the same halves,
simulacra is fancy for "absent."

Like banging means "good"
or off the chain means "good."

The same way off the hook forgets
the phone, I'm forgetting the space

between Oregon and North
Carolizzay, daylight savings time,

and the addition of the "-izzay."
So silly that suffix,

verbed blackface for black folks.
So here you are writing unmasked,

bouncing verbs without face paint
like empty rooms bounce echoes:

"The Mulatto Question," a question
of remixing our name or re-envisioning

our cliché like Bonz Malone saying,
Life is beautiful, it's just the shit

in it that's fucked up over vocals,
keys looped like a fishhook. Didn't he

know piano is a necessary part
of any Mulatto blues? Black key

for one woman or white key for two
women when you should be writing

and that combination is feminine.
We've got a disputed lineage,

like Arizona before Estavancio
named it. We got all kinds of folks

acting like Estavancio. Mixed man,
mixed man, that state wasn't called

a state, but the pedigreed mountains
and lizards were already in place.

Copyright © 2006 Adrian Matejka All rights reserved
from Crab Orchard Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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