The Congo (excerpt)

Will Alexander

For the resistance rendered byCasimiro Barrios & Fela Kuti*

the colonizers always in search of categorical rays to quietly enumerate
so that their search magnetically obscures itself
so that atrocities are never properly noted

say I was a regulated savior
I would ignite aesthetics as a form of deeper concern
as contradistinguished sangoma I possess no intent to properly heal the dea

in the Congo
there is the spiraling quantity of death
of sudden afterlife exposure
that swarm as prodigious mourning plots

in spite of this vast array objective with evil
I practice bodiless synopsis as ritual
spawned by arcane fatigue
that erupts from my form strange deceptive sunbursts
a calliope consumed by streaking fumes
being cartography that whirls beyond the sense of its own notion

I exist
beyond abrasive misnomer
beyond the sense of reason that nothing more can be found
thus I understand
that my psychophysical range has merged with something higher than brilliance
higher than condoning by memorial

this being the manner
that navigates chants via invisible syllabi

in this sense
I am beyond the zodiac that embrangles ether
beyond the untrue sense of the deleterious as division
beyond its plaintive plea to trap itself inside carnivorous application

holding all the while rancid synesthesia
always clamoring for multiple address of itself

in the form that was the Congo Free Army
Mobutu’s henchmen
armed with machetes & drills
along with the forces that backed Kasavubu & Tshombe

as key Indian yogins held up the upper realms during the onslaught that was Hitler
now I am charged with much the same task
working with the insidious electricity of existence itself

I must take into account extragalactic irradiation
I must make as subcontact our frightening local abyss that includes Pluto & the Oort Cloud*

I exist in terms of ratio
between Earth & the nearest star system*

but because I hail from the eastern Congo
I appear to be genetically out of range
I appear to the Occidental eye as carbon without consequence
plagued by regional investiture
cast as one having no proper nutrient to imbibe
no lasting raiment
no palpable retardant against fire & wind

since I’ve been a strangely targeted beast
of inconsequential suggestion

it has been thought
that the Sun could never move me
that my frame of reference was null
& electric & proto-cosmic

so that I cease to register
as though I propound myself as cataract
who ceases respiration
who ceases all forms of chronicled observation


Casimiro Barrios & Fela Kuti: Lifelong campaigners against corruption and considered by the state to be alien and anarchist. White-collard worker Casimiro Barrios (1890–1930) was executed by Chilean authorities. Fela Kuti (1938–1997), who married twenty-seven wives, protractedly clashed with Nigerian authorities. His demise was accelerated due to continuous pressure and prosecution from controlling interests.

Pluto & the Oort Cloud: Trans-Neptunian objects. Pluto is now equated with Sedna, Haumea, and Makemake as a dwarf planet and is a Kuiper Belt object. More distant is the Oort Cloud 5000 to 100,000 AUs from the sun, whereas the Kuiper Belt is much closer at 30 to 50 AUs from the sun. Oort Cloud, named after Dutch astronomer Jan Oort, forms a spherical shell of cometary debris.

nearest star system: The Alpha Centauri star system is 4.37 light years away. According to conventional rocket travel this equates to 40,000 years distant from Earth.

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Will Alexander works in multiple genres. In addition to being a poet, he is also a novelist, essayist, aphorist, playwright, philosopher, visual artist, and pianist. His influences range from poetic practitioners, such as Aimé Césaire, Bob Kaufman, Andre Breton, Antonin Artaud, and Philip Lamantia, to the encompassing paradigm of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga, and the Egyptian worldview as understood by Cheikh Anta Diop and R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz. The latter is central to Alexander’s expanding inner range, which has allowed him access to levels of mind beyond the three-dimensional as boundary. He thereby explores the full dimensionality of each word. For him, each word has access to not only the median level of three-dimensional experience, but also partakes of experience on both the supra and subconscious planes. His praxis of language is not unlike the Mayan numerical world, where each letter of the alphabet spontaneously engages in non-limit. Thus, all fields of experience are open for exploration: art, physics, botany, history, astronomy, architecture, and poetics. Alexander’s books include Asia and Haiti, The Sri Lankan Loxodrome, Compression and Purity, Sunrise In Armageddon, Diary As Sin, Inside the Earthquake Palace, Towards The Primeval Lightning Field, and Mirach Speaks To His Grammatical Transparents. He lives in The City of Angels.

"It is tempting to label Alexander a surrealist or experimentalist, but he is truly a singular voice. Ultimately, his poetry is rooted in a belief in the transformative powers of language. Will Alexander's body of work reveals the power of a discursive poetics guided by social prerogative."
—citation for the Jackson Poetry Prize

"As we spin towards planetary suicide at the hands of oily capitalizers, it will be the prophetic words of poets such as Will Alexander, with their imaginal radiance, which hold any hope of lighting the way to a true alchemical amnesty and new modes of being."
—Dorothy Wang, author of Thinking Its Presence

"Cosmological, astrological, philosophical, geological, mathematical, and hypnogogical in scope, Alexander finds concordance in chaotic discord. Like a force of nature, a procession of seamless symbols, the lines roll out as variant strata compress into a"
—Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, The Brooklyn Rail

"Since the 1980s, the Los Angeles-based Alexander has mixed politics with mesmeric, oracular lines. Here, three long poems evoke colonial Africa."
—Greg Cowles, The New York Times

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