James Brown’s Legs

Reading variety store trash while ill

>I once saw, in a fever, the head of Andy Kaufman, being lanced of ectoplasm

Today it is James Brown’s legs
which were hacked off for DNA

So the grand body in state, was mutilated

So the terminal line at the Apollo, clutching roses

Were weeping to a torso a striking
Red and black bespoke &

Abbreviated king, with an immaculate pageboy and glittering lapels

Because, according to his widow Tomi
Rae, a plague of locusts

Descended, making paternity claims and, she says, she says and cries

His good body* has been
moved 14 times for the same reason

This is hard going without a fever, I think and smack the phone until

It hiccups the young godfather or soul instructs me how to dance like

A pharaoh and a churning bowl of
mashed potatoes

As if anyone could follow along
As if the sky made videos called

How to be infinite and filled with dreams

Even Michael Jackson just sat there crying by the teeny tiny man

And all of his secrets, plundered the moment he died and let loose

Beyond us are funky chickens,
brooding over their beautiful black eggs.

*John Berryman on Delmore Schwartz, Dream Songs

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