New Day Jazz

Justin Desmangles

Rain by Aime Cesaire

After I had by iron by fire by ash visited the most celebrated places in history
after I had by ash fire earth and stars courted with my wild dog and leechlike
fingernails the authoritarian field of protoplasms
I found myself as usual in the old days in the middle of a factory of vipers'
nests in a ganges of cacti in an elaboration of thorny pilgrimages - and as
usual I was salivated by limbs and tongues born a thousand years before
the earth - and as usual I made my morning prayer the one that protects
me from the evil eye and that I address to the rain under the aztec color of
its name

Rain who so gently washes a perverse injection from the earth's academic
All-powerful rain who on the chopping block makes the fingers of the
rock's leap
Rain who force-feeds an army of worms no mulberry forest could nourish
Rain inspired strategist who pushes across the mirror of the air your zigzag
army of numberless riverbanks that cannot not surprise the best-kept
Rain wasp nest beautiful milk whose piglets we are
Rain I see your hair which is a perpetual explosion of sandbox tree fireworks
your hair of misinformation promptly denied
Rain who in your most reprehensible excesses takes care not to forget that
Chiriqui maidens pull suddenly from their night corsage a lamp of thrilling
Inflexible rain who lays eggs whose larvae are so proud that nothing can
make them mount the stern of the sun and salute it like an admiral
Rain who is a fresh fish fan behind which courteous races hide to watch
victory with its dirty feet pass by
Greetings to you queen rain in the depths of the eternal goddess whose hands
are multiple and whose destiny is unique thou sperm thou brain thou fluid
Rain capable of everything except washing away the blood that flows on the
fingers of the murderers of entire peoples surprised in the soaring forests
of innocence

(translation by A. James Arnold & Clayton Eshleman)
Solar Throat Slashed, The Unexpurgated 1948 Edition, Wesleyan University Press


Above, right, Of the Blues: Kansas CIty 4/4, by Romare Bearden


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