* when i am gone & these fiber optics still ignite as an ad for Nike what then? my gamma-tendrils spreading over the hills like a klepto— i wasn’t looking to be saved when the maple-sprouts shoot through a slit in the page so my eyes can hatch in a village along the tree line’s polychrome- shimmer— i scrape myself out of the velvet- pram in the glade-chafe where this child-corpse deposits its mineral- ring before falling— i hop a fence & core the photoplasm from the book like the purest cut of factory- black— for a thimble-breath of darkness outside the sentence i lift the veil so my nematode- sprites can get a whiff of empire— when the first solar rose repeats in the hillside’s optic- nerve we wring the image from the model like a dye & chew on its viscera * in the strife-brane that plush- polyp quaking in the corner you can call him rabbit-rabbit & this dog-body lays a gimp- leg against our monitor to rest which tickles like a rumor the white-latex- sky sucks up my ghost folding-shut behind me i know better but my coding says i’m attracted to the blacklight like you when i hear the voices scratched-out of a village- twerp but continue to chew the wheat-cake-of-empire i hang my snout low with the look of a dry-wood- spigot in the hyper-strife this humble roach likes to scree in its concave grove where my forest- cock raises its mossy neck its cleft- chin suddenly so concerned about the world! already searching splat-splat in the satellite- dust instead of here & here in the ream- ecology where we hurt the most the rack-master soaks his feet in our vinepaste & our sprouts huddle under his translucent- spit-dangle by spookfall it’s a fern-dangle our tartaric- beaks wailing in the finch- weed * hey you yapping outside my quartz-fat pushing through the membrane of the oak shut up— our orphan-bodies blink- blinking along the pike-wood- bristle under the escort of the gendarme clenching on all sides— waking we are not the same child extracted from the root-prism when together the alloyed genitals shoot the pain secretes an emerald curving geometric feeling the floodlights dissimulate in rushes of figuration breaking-apart like— in our nest the ammo-lobe-we-call-commander kisses our cordite casings so we feel wanted before leaving at dawn to drop our bullet- pupae at the feet of the missile-chief to split the gate of the seven-house-village before loading its excretion to the returner- body —you didn’t know we could get here together sometimes me sometimes a zero-dark- twerk above the furrows of the silicone- field where we blank the roads blank the distance blank-blank the tile-patch twisting in the yard blank-blank the light winking-shut in the river-wood- filigree blank-blank up above but making the ammo-lobe very angry our drone-sound tears through the surface of the page— w-w-we didn’t know we needed each other but years go by— & still we track through the empire s-s- circuit the same c-conifer the s-same obelisk— when i can’t stop you from seeing me this way our glands sew the silicone into a cord you can pull if you need a meal if you need anything— sometimes me sometimes you inside us together
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Madison McCartha is a black poet and multimedia artist whose work appears (or is forthcoming) in Black Warrior Review, Dreginald, The Fanzine, Full-Stop, The Journal, jubilat, Yalobusha Review and elsewhere. His work has received support from Winter Tangerine, The Millay Colony for the Arts, and was shortlisted for the 2019-2021 CAAPP Creative Writing Fellowship. Madison holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame and, in the fall, will be pursuing his PhD at the University of California–Santa Cruz.
ABOUT THE MANUSCRIPT
The position of each part within this whole […] each specific Plantation […] to understand the hidden order […] so as to wander without becoming lost.
— Édouard Glissant
Put plainly: I needed to imagine practices of art-making that could give someone like me the subversive permission to be. Disinterested in traditional performances of black identity, Freakophone World became a series of occult recordings, hauntings, and invocations performing new black diasporic identities in an increasingly globalized and imperiled society. The speaker in this poem comes from a long tradition—of freaks, outsiders, others, and spirits calling out to the living reader from the undead, black, and unapologetically freakophonic space of the text. At times Afrofuturist, weird and intensely intimate, this is an unruly, resistant poetry whose infectious speaker utters itself as a speculative other, and whose textual body is itself a diaspora.
This poem also speaks into a larger body of writing—one that pulses at the intersection of race, technology and the occult—signaling expressions of blackness that subverts their mediating technologies. Lately, I’ve been working on an interface for the book capacious enough to occupy that body.
Because the technology I want to subvert most, here, is empire.