dark art


my dark art


you truth

raw stuns

 like max on drums

ancient sacred primal

 dark art

mesmerized you

slipped in baptized

you approached invited

me to cite

sing tap entertain you

collecting my shroud

of shadows gathering thunder 

trailing wailing women

prayers of unborn children

sliding the eagles

back into

the book


like you like

walked away

bleeding dark art

bloody footsteps

stale air last breaths

centuries of trauma

stopping to pour out

gin for Ogun

me and the eagles


not like you like

breathing deep in

dark hearts

where sun

shines sublimely

refined refracted reflected

the inside of pure

darkness beyond dark

draped in black

three eyes


drum hearted

fire burning

nomo ignited

verbal vampire


assumed you knew

she travel well


w/dark art

spit spells

weaving existence

ways out the no way

sopranos sing here

high like corpses swinging

strangely in trees

in deeply purple southern breezes

drug by horses through the north

informing the curses

invoked dipped in indigo

coffee sugar wrapped in cotton

invisible but you see

I see

so you invited

we accepted

me & the eagles


no prisoners promised

no surrender no retreat

blocked exits for several lifetimes

syndicated rerunning on BET

there’s no escape

hold your breath

listen for



syncopated like drums


walking on the bottom

of the ocean

dark art

tongue like sword

freed by

armies of bones

walking on water

swelling w/ recruits

rising from graveyards

pregnant with unresolved

history projectiles

jaggedly inventive inverse

conjuring murky magic

deliciously dangerous

perniciously persistent

hard to kill

dying to live

we are here

to entertain

double-sided axes

tilt your world

i be a different axis

listen closely to access this

now horns play

the drum never stopped

that’s the circle unbroken

beating hearts

waking  walking  invoking

the dead we are here

Dahomey fire

zulu spears

protection shields

not a thing to lose

drown you in bluest blue

drums never stop beating

bass begins

she sings but

no tapping less

Zavion come over

Baraka is gone

fingers move in memory

but no tapping

she sangin


got to go through

the back

door to save you

dark art

breaking your fragile

heart bending the

notion of me

nappy uncharted

jazz fall into my ocean

swim in it

jump jim crow fits

fill jail cells with it

live in fear of it

choking on greedily ingested

appropriated you tried to eat

it correct it erase it

mass assimilate it

come to the picnic

cut up the body

take a small piece home

injected into your ass

lips & tits

I’ve come to help

you digest your

dreams of me

captured consumed

uncured still wild

 monk miles Marvin x

a thousand galaxies

ahead beyond

Sun Ra murdered

the fucking pale

I’ve come to bury it

crossing over

broken lines in Alabama

dark roads in Mississippi

sunrises over Georgia

itinerant refugee landless

razor smooth

few possessions

insert your confessions here

on the altar of my

dark art

beating heart

naked on stage

blinded by searchlights

they come mostly at night

shotguns under the bed

you can meet god tonight

pray it’s your god

mine don’t play

there may be no overcoming

we are here

wet from the water

still purple


crosses on necks

seeing god in the mirror

resisting existential crucifixion

tracks of bitter tears

smelling of dried blood

sweat from climbing

heavy rank-ass pain

too stubborn to die

 broke raggedy hope


fly fly fly my granny said

grow wings too many holes

in the ground

she cried she cried she cried

can my pain change you

right there

they drank the tears

the ocean

left shimmering bones dancing

on dry land

no tapping

invincible drums beat

dark hearts

dark hearts beating

she cried she cried she cried

the horns stopped

hex dropped

not a damn eye dry

feed my ocean

dark art

strung on trees


on dry ground

bones dancing

sharpening machetes

hold your breath

we are in the desert now

just the eagles’ lions & apes

walking with me

grannys weeping over dead children

kept in urns too poor for the cemetery

we all here

are you here

another one shot down

can’t eat your guilt

born hungry

I got dreams deferred

looking for justice

feeling like Fela Kuti


bones & feathers

eagles machetes razors

nothing to lose

we here

are you here

something should be burning

are you praying

pray that

poems never end

because what then

you breathe


About Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD

I create; therefore I am.
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