Friday, October 2, 2020

Selected Works, Tongo Eisen-Martin

I Do Not Know the Spelling of Money


I go to the railroad tracks

And follow them to the station of my enemies


A cobalt-toothed man pitches pennies at my mugshot negative


All over the united states, there are

Toddlers in the rock


I see why everyone out here got in the big cosmic basket

And why blood agreements mean a lot

And why I get shot back at


I understand the psycho-spiritual refusal to write white history or take the glass freeway


White skin tattooed on my right forearm

Ricochet sewage near where I collapsed

into a rat-infested manhood


My new existence as living graffiti


The new bullets pray over blankets made from old bullets


The 28th hour’s next beauty mark

The waist band before the next protest poster


Bought slavers some time, didn’t it?

The tantric screeches of military bolts and Election-Tuesday cars


Proof that some white people have fondled nooses

That sundown couples

made their vows of love over  

opaque peach plastic

and bolt action audiences      


Man, the Medgar Evers-second is definitely my favorite law of science


Fondled news clippings and primitive Methodists

My arm changes imperialisms

Simple policing vs. Structural frenzies

Elementary school script vs. Even whiter white spectrums


Artless bleeding and

the challenge of watching civilians think


“terrible rituals they have around the corner. They let their elders beg for public mercy…beg for settler polity”


“I am going to go ahead and sharpen these kids’ heads into arrows myself and see how much gravy spills out of family crests.”


Modern fans of war

            What with their t-shirt poems

            And t-shirt guilt


And me, having on the cheapest pair of shoes on the bus,

I have no choice but to read the city walls for signs of my life

No Stars Over the Trenches Tonight


Malcom X’s ballroom jacket slung over my son’s shoulders

Pharmacy doors mid-slide

                        The figment of village

                                                            a noon noose to a new white preacher

Wiretaps in the discount kitchen tile

-All in an abstract painting of a president


Half man on scratch paper

Half pickpocket with flailing arms


double fisted

I am an alcoholic in search of history books

                                                                                    ruining the local train in search of

history books

I am limping to poetry


a Reagan meeting adjourns and modern plant life begins

along with dry out-of-body insight, tools and nails in a bucket,

a poor person’s bird atrium

along with unprovable music theory

-The poem turns into absolute political failure



Carceral state mythology of a factory’s first Black chaplin


the bible that goes bump

or a flower of harm

or the knife fight the day after the last day of history

county line cop lights gone cold like

bourgeois state lunch on an international bridge

-the Mississippi mixtape



A fly studies me at a border crossing
It has been studying everything at this border

Including the police graduation gowns


Open air silence in the pan

Then silence closing in on an imperialist opera

I mean I was there the night that

San Francisco disappeared


Like listening to Nina Simone later in life…

Won’t you fly a little, Lord

Won’t you put a space heater in my grave

It’s the people who facilitate themselves, Lord


My only change of clothes prosecuted

The government has finally learned how to write poems

I Imitate You


“Believe in the street, brother”


60s newspaper clippings and teeth hang on a string

 “Like a book of life, man”


The unfortunate alliance

between killer and killed

replaces the hippies with white people



I talked to class-less people today

They were not overworked nor military captains

They were not wage-washed nor born in a series


Maybe I am the last white man on earth


A church signals another church with mirrors and nose-drips


The spirit-world up and starts murdering city trees


My poem

My cubist-remade scar

My Saturn for adults

My junkie industrialism

Made interestingly heart-felt


“I knew my father as much as I want to be known”


I Make Promises Before I Dream


No unclaimed, cremated mothers this year


Nor collateral white skin


No mothers folding clothes to a corporate park preamble

No sons singing under the bright lights of a lumber yard


Quantum reaganomics and the tap steps of turning on a friend


New York trophy parts among

the limbs of decent people

Being an enraged artist is like

entering a room and not knowing what to get high off of


My formative symbols/My upbringing flying to an agent’s ears

I might as well be an activist


Called my girlfriend and described

All the bottles segregationists had thrown at me that day


Described recent blues sites and soothing prosecutions

I feared for my poetry


You have to make art every once in a while

            While in the company of sell-outs

            Accountant books in deified bulk

            Or while waiting for a girl under a modern chandelier


Or in your last lobby as a wanderer


The prison foot races the museum


My instrument ends


I mean, what is a calendar to the slave?

Also, what is a crystal prism?


“He bought this bullet,

bought its flight,

then bought two more”

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