Akhim Yuseff Cabey
my basketball poem
begins on an asphalt court of tectonic cracks
like exiled strings of lightning strewn south
across the three-point line then splitting
southwest out of bounds—
directions clinched fists of human breath
no longer comprehend. I am the only man left
on earth: crossing-over air, pulling up in the face
of nothing and no one. recording buckets
in a ledger growing thick and frayed
with each day I’ve agreed to live here alone
so that never again will first-ever human head
transplants best dark faces blown out. or away.
take comfort. there is no more pain here.
no more eroticized suffering as when flies
once dotted the ribs and temples of televised
Ethiopians. they still buzz and lay
their eggs upon hydroquinone corpses
and church wigs on Sunday. these days
I harness remnant noose fibers into a soup
of heavy red pepper and diced cremini
that’s much easier on the throat. my love
do you howl or swoon remembering my funk
the day I chopped the quiver for its aloe
used to cool your bruises from an ancient time
no one will ever be culpable for again?
often I worry your foreign soil fails to grow
all what you need. that your alien sun
is not holy as mine. days I regret
this contract that has cured evil and delivered
you and everyone to safety, I kneel and kiss
these banished fissures of your face—
whisper into their void that old cliché.
then after a no-look pass to nothing—to no one
I cut a wrist to guarantee he has honored
his half of the deal: that asparagus grows
strong in the ground wherever you are
and confetti of solace and loneliness alone
splashes forever from the gash.
Akhim Yuseff Cabey is originally from the Bronx, N.Y., and now works and lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and daughter. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Obsidian II, Callaloo, Sweet, Rough Copy, Kweli, The Sun, and The Frozen Moment, an anthology. In addition to being a five-time recipient of the Ohio Arts Council's Individual Excellence Award, he is also a 2009 Pushcart Prize-winning essayist. Currently, he is working on his first full-length collection of poetry about white supremacy, titled The Late Heavy Bombardment, and his golf game.