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The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2020

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NOV 2020 Issue
Poetry

“Herewith the Prologue:”


I came along a silk route. I came low like low things. Slow, farcical
leaves rimmed the trees. Some chic birds. I came along a long way,
bolstered by merchants and prophylactics and an obscure shade
that became my practice.
              Sometimes I'd stop
to confer with magnolias and find the writing on the margin
creeping in. Or I'd look up at the archive wandering hysterically
like a womb. I'd stop at markets where rank matadors offered me
coins.
    Magnalia! Magnalia! I heard these bards, I loved
those shops, little bourgeois vessels of amnesia and maybe
lockets. And sometimes
           I'd stop at theatres
and watch the facsimile faces twatting by, the customary graffito
on a restaurant tile. I'd forget my resistances, small wrists, and gussy
up my deadlocked tongue. Nothing to see here, I'd say, but
virtuoso shrubs.
        Along the silk route upon which I came came
the very neat devices of a memoirist or politico. The silkiness
of the route was of an old time, colored like old, color
photographs, with seepages into the corners of sight.
                       Silk either
wore me down or bore me out of a series of vacancies in which
I scanned beaches. I was 'caught.' Who 'caught' me
but a phantom certainty, 'certainty like a quality of gems
and cautious doctrines'? This was my distraction and
having to tighten my belt and all that. And yet
                     I was arriving,
words appearing on points of fact. Prickly or vine-like, I proposed
this and that. I was told nation or rhapsody or wear simple clothes.
I heard those statements as limpid fugues, traumas wandering
out of musical bars. I had no purchase on those points.
                        For a while
it was impossible to wear silk. I'd look up at the ruched sky,
I'd consider the Jesuitic races, the long lines of vox sniff-sniffing,
the climate refusing to change, the clematis reminding me
I was to pursue a sound. I was to steal
                 along, i was to barter
my socialisms for some mastic or gâteau slaked with rum or
a velvet speculum or any sort of very erudite and algebraic,
any sort of very telluric sort, a sort of, any sort, a sottise,
any sort of sottise. So
           I bartered my socialisms for something
hierarchic, something hemorragic, hagio-cratic, her-metical, hell,
helical, her-heretical, hire, hire, hieroglyphic, had her, hatter, heter-
onomous, hire, hair, hairy. It was a hairy time.
                     And my bush
was a mulberry bush. It occasioned silk. Silk was a duration. I
unpacked it. Finally arriving, tender glissade. Lowing in the fields,
rennet skies. Up ahead, the emporium, up ahead. All those
haptic divinities. All those sounds I came to quell,
                      asking,
questioning, comment, comment, comment, quel, quelle
laine, quel lin, quel coton, quel satin, quel crin, quel chanvre,
quel cachemire, quel velours, quel tweed, quelle flanelle,
quelle dentelle, quel calicot, quelle mousseline, quel
serge, quelle jute, quel jacquard, quel brocard,
quel cuir, quelle soie, quel soi, quelque soit,
quelque soie, quelle soi

Contributor

Aditi Machado

Aditi Machado’s Emporium (Nightboat, 2020) received the James Laughlin Award for a second book of poetry. Her other works include the poetry collection Some Beheadings, a translation of Farid Tali’s Prosopopoeia, and an essay pamphlet called The End.

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The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2020

All Issues