Jimsoned, my words are; clovered, clustered.
Excuse my hair, my platform eyes.
I’m crowded by theorems
and connected investigations;
they clutter the chairs, they jimmy all the locks.
They return my kisses with such sobriety
that blue and slow are crowns, synonyms.
I might have waited elsewhere.
But looking is its own gym, its own pay-off,
and the distance seems articulate:
silver, chrome, the wind disarranging
leaves fields variousness of landscapes,
the James flowing south to weathers
and east into weathers.
I crow over the vastness,
and it returns such vastness.
Note: The “Jim Crow” is a poetic form invented by Purvis Cornish, and it requires repeating those two words in regular patterns. This poem also borrows words and phrases from Robert Hayden’s “[American Journal].”
Chiyuma Elliott is a professor in the African American Studies department at UC Berkeley.