in the meantime, the mean time, the out 

between the down 

and up, double time, double down 


on underground sonic market forces, forces 


of ear; forecast 

plangent. 67 



shot, and 12 killed over any

given weekend. the coldest rhythms 


on lake michigan. tell me

something good. inquisitively she all through the

night. and i just might as 

well face it: 

that low down shakin’ 

chill, that if you aint ever 

had it, hope you never will              blows in


some next, fresh, outside 


intuit. 2 spirits 

of 2 vehicular throats


at the intervals 


risk                                      noise


                   for melodic layers of pursuit. entropic, 


you say? all the angles 

covered with transmission in

the pocket, notions


of gone. the far-flung 

quartet. people, places 


& things all over everywhere 

and each other so freely, 

because sheeeee-it


because they know.







makes a pretty splash somewhere edge

to edge of this is how i like to get down: jive

at the ear theater, the art

of air escaping from wire theory of strings,

provided the daring edge

of finger tips, of the keyboard ideation of

it's been so damn long since i've thought of anything

but you. on second thought: too damn long,

fingers pressed against the lips— shit’s ironic, staccato, where

the notes can find some rest,

maybe isn't what it sounds like. maybe,

a single bass note, octave, seventh interval

on the up and major seventh on the down: what happens

if i make it scream like i don't care,

 sweat up and down, old ladies cursing

the other directions they go in— that’s so fantastic in a way the self is this a way.

monk, bud, and elmo this way

out the never open door, humming it

 down bona fide back alleyway behind walker's tv repair shop.  


boys run around the yard,

getting away with murder.

bud aint showin’ nobody shit, just listen.

telling them they don't have to play so loud.

play loose.






tell the story off. he stepped on stage in warsaw after the interlude instantly a saxophone. called her birdie, cuz she had skinny legs. come in in a different time. the trombone was late but on time. dress it up baby, drizzle some sweet on it. they cuttin’ cards around aunt rosetta’s kitchen table waiting for high-waisted, double-knit high waters to come back (in town). i can show it to you better than i can explain it to you. every cat got his bone outside in the taxi he owe money, every dog that's a dog got his 4 o’clock second line to catch. the money folded from his hand to the other had to hurry up for it to be a funeral with music. the feeling gets the blessing all up and down high street. tell the story off, dress it up baby, drizzle some motif on it. fingers dance with valves. i start in the middle of a sentence and blow in both directions at the same time. do it again in the next verse, and people think you meant to. do it again in the verse after that, and people know you meant it.



"The poem 'middle choruses: that new orleans gone off of' is in the form I invented called the Unit, with Cecil Taylor's Unit Structures in mind and the desire to embody the feel of collective improvisation in Free Jazz. It is a prose poem made up of 16 New Sentences to be thought of like bars in a musical composition. The first and the sixth are combined to make up the twelfth new sentence. The New Sentence is a prose poem form invented by Ron Silliman. Some of the defining characteristics of the New Sentence are: 1) the paragraph organizes the sentences; 2) the paragraph is a unity of quantity, not logic or argument; 3) sentence structure is altered for torque, or increased polysemy/ambiguity; 4) primary syllogistic movement is between the preceding and following sentences; 5) the limiting of syllogistic movement keeps the reader's attention at or very close to the level of language."

Makalani Bandele is a Louisville, KY native and member of the Affrilachian Poets. He has received fellowships from Millay Colony for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Kentucky Arts Council, and the Cave Canem Foundation. His work has been published in several anthologies, and can also be found in print or online in a wide variety of journals and literary magazines. Hellfightin’, published by Willow Books in 2011, is his only full-length book of poems.