Jan 17

tune as an asylum

by makalani bandele

considering the draft from a revolving door of no return, we

had to open a small window to a real

small world we can’t recall like when clouds in the sky were cool

to the touch of reality. we

lost touch with sound because of all the mirrors. left
home with a foretaste of the wildest horse, a drag like school

                    without music. ask the walls if we
have sweet blood in a secret attic. the lurk

out of grasp of late.
blue eyes flit suspiciously back and forth, they know we

transpose keys off the doom, difficult for others to strike.

so mad i can’t even see                      straight

ahead in a lost room tilted and spinning from the side effects. we
are passengers on the last train. the steel on steel sings
through the tunnel. crossing the river is a sin.

do it swiftly, definitively.                    ear of lithium ringing.  we

argue with the charts you can’t argue with.  the sun thin
and mean through the window like cheap gin

spit in your eyes, a dislocation for not sitting on a dead man. we

have all the changes to talk to at times,                                why call it jazz,


we didn’t name your baby june?

     we be damned sometimes if we

don’t convulse with electricity and damn near die.
dreams of cutting everybody again, and it won’t be too soon.



makalani bandele is from Louisville, KY. He is an a Affrilachian Poet. bandele has received fellowships from Kentucky Arts Council, Millay Colony for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and the Cave Canem Foundation. His work has been published in several anthologies and widely in print and online journals, such as Sou’wester, Barely South Review, and North American Review. Hellfightin’, published by Willow Books in 2011, is his full-length collection of poems.


Art by Michelle Johnsen, art editor

Michelle Johnsen is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine, EcoWatch.com, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by APweather.com, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at] gmail.com.