Midnight’s Talking Lion and the Wedding Fire

Adam Day

Ralph Ellison imperfections inherent in “identity formation within a system of social segregation”, where “the population strive to define attain. Identity that rejects terms. Them estrangement instantiated prisons, housing projects as well as the miasma of implications, specifically The Poet, A Wedding, The Warp in the Mirror, Spring Fire, and the “tenacious feeling that enduring seers is only intact, pressed back into a tent, separate but together. There to listen”.

“[T]he suburbs” are a different kind of abandoned set of futures”, or will exist only as what might have function as distinct “hideouts for time”. The “profound uncertainty about the shape and meaning of a facsimile of events held together by flimsy information” where thinking most closely resembles several generations of partial “People what they wanted, each accordingly built rathouse of history’s rags and straws” in addition to concern with Watts race riot of built

environment poverty distinctive Watts Towers Nuestra Pueblo fabricated thirty-three Italian immigrant years interconnected stand feet tall steel pipes rods, wrapped wire mesh, mortar coated with found objects mosaic of busted glass and crockery,

nails, tin cans, debris”, to understand a peculiar temporality. Instead of freezing monuments in time by commemorating a specific, they register the process labor making years of human

subjects full of street corners where people stand, as have 20 or 30 years” troubling stasis poor benefits of the booming postwar.

White black Los Angeles, project rhetorical strategy deploying the “you” down the freeway, maybe wondering cop is going to stop the old piece of a car which you noise from the perspective of cause. To inhabit the position hyperspecific. Banal on down the vacant street, charred lots, winking with empty paper bags, busted buildings still waiting with a kind of ongoing culture that surrounds a curious urban “panoramic sense” of material, both anomalous and untimely (e.g., the Coliseum in Rome, Machu Picchu), Watts is the Scene within alterity at least partly. An effect in some sense out of time; “compressed or stopped” at site stasis as a journey of psychogeography.

The “you” is both you and not you, no matter how much we want and are able. Limited ability to inbody the person beside us, regardless of certain shared characteristics and histories. And that maybe is how much what’s not said is what cannot be

said, or perhaps more importantly, what the speaker is unwilling to say, what she is withholding.

Times complexity and idea offers troubling, important aspects of ability to race you, even sometimes sublime situations,working to dispel whatever. Privilege ignorance might enjoy a willful looking away, as students premier public university told,tell, America, as directly as possible, the other you feel as real time, and spectator. Expressed and absorbed, but often incomplete punch in the gut as when someone arriving at the building, rings the front doorbell, and is received by a woman first yelling, then: “I am so sorry, so, so sorry”.

We’re asked often always to interpret around. A certain pressure awareness of but many without one way people become phrased “hyper visible”. Which is visible because you are not who, how, or where some expects you. Marked out agency, but also prior to the moment of notice, you are invisible, by way of represented geography attention invisibility,which implies being left alone, also means in the way of what can come of this self but diminished; incremental acts of gesture

for internal blockage of fluid idea communication by implication. What might mean. Stable sensibilities interested in ways of contact consciousness that owns without obvious common ground. Ideally, the result an Earth station where almost anything can take place.

Photograph by Antonio Prado

Adam Day

Adam Day is the author of Left-Handed Wolf (LSU Press, 2020), and of Model of a City in Civil War (Sarabande Books), and the recipient of a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship for Badger, Apocrypha, and of a PEN Award. His work has appeared in the Fence, Boston Review, APR, Volt, Lana Turner, Iowa Review, and elsewhere.

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