& LATER BY ADRIAN MATEJKA

—after “Trumpet,” Jean-Michel Basquiat

the broken sprawl & crawl
of Basquiat’s paints, the thin cleft

of villainous pigments wrapping

each frame like the syntax
in somebody else’s relaxed

explanation of lateness: what had
happened was. Below blackened

crowns, below words crossed out
to remind of what is underneath:

potholes, ashy elbows, & breath

that, in the cold, comes out in red light

& complaint shapes—3 lines
from the horn’s mouth
in the habit of tardy remunerations.

All of that 3-triggered agitation,
all that angry-fingered fruition

like Indianapolis’s 3-skyscrapered smile

when the sun goes down & even

the colors themselves start talking

in the same suspicious idiom
as a brass instrument—

thin throat like a fist,

flat declinations of pastors
& teachers at Christmas in the inner city.

Shoulders back & heads up when
playing in holiday choir of hungry

paints, chins covered
in red scribbles in all of the songs.

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