étude op. 8, no. 6 (eight piano voicings of a straitjacket)//makalani bandele

an elbowroom of bas-

relief elbows. criss-cross

applesauce in a

            white angled bowl

leaves the stank of duck

cloth in the palate.







of the stanch

of archived documents

and like the cling-clang of

getting pulled in two

discrete directions.

the somebody’s help

 you need in augural tears.

a chest compressed

into a wedge of breath.



is the fear

an immobile subjective

abnormally depicted

in black

and the space around left

all white

surpassing the tips?

makalani bandele has received fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council, Cave Canem, Vermont Studio Center, and Millay Colony for the Arts. His work has been published in several anthologies, and in many in-print and online literary journals. He is the author of one book of poems, hellfightin’. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.