by Matt Broaddus
I recently read Don Mee Choi’s awe-inspiring new book of docupoetics, translation, and art called DMZ Colony. “Toward Global Humanity” is a refrain that comes up in the book, and I think that idea just about epitomizes my impulse to write the poem “Delivery.” “Delivery” is part of a larger collection, a project I’ve been working on for a long time called Two Bolts. I wrote these poems in heavily enjambed and fragmented couplets because I liked the way that form evoked some of the oppositions that structure my feelings about being both a black writer and bi-racial writer: place/displacement, longing/belonging, community/alienation. I wanted to find a way through art to talk about the intersecting identities that have been both socially dictated to me and adopted/transformed by me. Art is a way for me to think through and feel through my personal experience of diaspora. I had sound associations in mind when I wrote “Delivery,” not necessarily the literal meaning of words. Parallel structure, repetition, and improvisation allow the sounds and images of the poem to build and play off of one another. I wanted the voice of the poem to contain multiple registers of time and place happening simultaneously. I was thinking of various migrant/refugee crises that have been going on for most of my adult life. That global view contrasts with the speaker’s individual sense of dislocation in the poem as he wanders through a foreign country. This is all getting at my overall personal artistic drive to envision a world where we collectively transcend the nation-state — Toward Global Humanity!
As in heaven. As in temporary
detention facility. The whitecap devils
appear without warning. Porcupine quill
jackets. For a small bribe these heads can be
taxidermied. I am only a visitor. Tasting
metal and led around discord street
for a tongue that works. A green plus
sign. A sympathetic
apothecary. In caves silent
as lightning. Why do you pace? Why
chew fingers in the parking lot? You will
wake the voluminous one. The one
who rises without warning.
As the horizon.
As the daily sea conveys
the faithful boats along its little blue belt.
Matt Broaddus is the author of a chapbook, Space Station (Letter [R] Press, 2018). He has received fellowships and residencies from Millay Colony for the Arts, The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and Cave Canem. His poetry has recently appeared in Fence, Okay Donkey, Burning House Press, and can we have our ball back? He is also a reader for PANK Magazine. He lives in Colorado and works at a public library.