Konch Magazine - 7 Poems
A Beautiful Woman Putting on Makeup on the Downtown Number #3 New York Subway Train
 

a woman dabs a little of this, a bit of that with a brush,
caresses her lovely face, smooth as any
                                               honey-brown female temptress’ countenance,
 
she holds a small hand mirror in her right hand
so as to see her best reflection in glass preening there,
                                  
no matter her rapturous beauty the woman isn’t satisfied with what
her eyes decipher inside the mirroring glass, so
she applies a fresh coat of sweet, candy-apple red gloss to her pursed lips,
sticks out her long, flickering tongue as if about to lick
her splendor caught there in reflection,
                                                                                               still, she is not pleased yet,
 
so she licks her left index finger lovingly,  
wipes it over her wet lips until they glisten as if seducing desire
 (like they do when a female movie star opens her mouth
in a seductive scene when kissing a co-star,
right before their two pink tongues probe sensuously, in evocative
            rapture between two orifices wet with heat),  
 
now she is satisfied with her image in the mirror,
so she rises alluringly, knowing all eyes are upon her in this moment,
A Beautiful Woman Putting on Makeup (Cont’d), page 2, same stanza
 
 
smiles sweetly to herself, struts off the train when the doors open -
 
like the mouth of one of the lover’s in the movie above –
 
then she disappears, a dazzling illusion floating through the teeming rush hour human traffic gathered there, causing countless heads to turn, -
swivel on shoulders like pinning tops - as all eyes follow now, hypnotized by her enchanting, bewitching, bodacious beauty
 

A Singer’s Siren Calling in Marcus Garvey Park; August 24th 2013
For Cecile McLorin Salvant
 
 
her voice reminds of a great dancer’s body, supple
the way it bends itself into syllables, grace notes
extend into flight, phrases spin high during moments
her voice cruises light through space creating melodies, improvising solos so stunningly elastic, so different, though
her voice echoes familiar clues – bessie, ella, billie, sarah, abby –  
threads through our ears sassy as it eases sex into lyrics  
wanting someone to be a lollypop she could suck or lick,
then she pulls back to naughty, french kisses – oo la la –
sounds of lascivious jelly rolls ala josephine baker,
then, for one so young, she turns on a dime,
 
becomes magical, changes again into a bright flower
blooming mysteriously right before our eyes, suddenly
                                      her hypnotic light captures our attention,
won’t let go when she soars, dips back down to earth, becomes
a spiritual song growling deep in the blues dark, she is a lover
moaning heat, trembling – soaked to the bone with sweat –
then passion leaps into the moment, flips her tongue risqué,
 
A Singer’s Siren Calling (Cont’d), page 2, the same stanza
 
 
risky, elongates her vocal sounds into stretching possibilities
steep in a language of outrage, before switching quickly to tender,
love we come to know now in her ancient voice,
an urgent calling, a siren’s song igniting cleansing flames,
 
it was a commanding performance, fierce, compelling,
unafraid, a searing light beckoning us hours after midnight

Blue Mandala
For Xenobia Bailey
 
you can catch a clean number 7 subway train from 42nd street,
times square, head south, arrive at a gleaming bright stop
in new york city, get off at the 34th street, hudson yards station,  
walk through turnstiles, see people craning necks upwards to snatch
a glimpse of a miraculous marvel - a wondrously blue translucent
mandala embedded in the roof above their heads, take in
how the healing powers of light in this new creation dance here,
magical circles spin, radiate through prismatic flight, pool inside spirits,
the beauty of this blue tiled multi-colored wonder locked in place
above a subway entrance, where people riding up or down the long
crawling escalator, remind of those conveying metro passengers
underground in paris, or london, to believe inspiration lives
somewhere in a promised future, if only for a moment, now
 
this blue miracle hatched, born, flew from the imaginative brain nest
of xenobia bailey, evoked an eagle soaring like dr. j flying through space
for one of his eye-popping, statement windmill tomahawk dunks
uptown in harlem, at rucker’s legendary basketball court back in the day, when huge afros & short basketball trunks were all the rage,
& you, xenobia bailey, a genius throwback too, weave your artistry clear
here, mirroring the mysterious hoodoo power of sun ra, encrusted
in one of his little beany caps emblazoned with secret codes,
helicopter blades, other worldly objects, perched atop his head,
Blue Mandala (Cont’d), page 2, same stanza
 
 
woven inside his gold lame robes african secret expressions,
created here to bewilder anyone stuck in the prevailing status quo,
 
we see in your blue mandala, xenobia, riddles spinning throughout
your creation full of intergalactic planets cruising through space,
carrying enigmas through your rainbow universe, inside a cosmic language your art renders, deepens, echoes, pulsates through the expanse of night,
you are a blooming cerium flower on rare earth in the light,  xenobia,
when the blue moment seeps bright into the sky tinged with wonder,
when the sun comes up with a blazing smile, joy deepens
inside a kind of blue musical sweep of your cobalt wing in flight,
up there flying high over our heads, a kite of music, your signature
solo, reminding of john coltrane, jimi hendrix, or john gilmore,
 
your blue mandala spinning through space above our heads
full of miracles, spinning bicycle wheels, their spokes glittering
rays, lances of light shooting throughout the sighting          


Excerpts from Ghost Voices, a book length poem in 13 parts. Sections 2 & 3.
 
2.
 
from my terrace in goyave, guadeloupe, eye listen,
listen to sea waves washing in on shore,
whispering lullabies in low, hushed voices, swirling
in whirlpools there voices combing through sand, rocks,
 salt water foaming, licking with lapping finger tongues
curling, then dredging as hissing syllables spray
lisping in the wind roaring over the sea,
sound becomes a language scripting lost memory,
riffing through undertones of history
murmuring rumors, secret coded utterances sigh,
 
eye am hearing wailing journeys
crawling across time to guadeloupe,
                                               this volcanic butterfly island rising
from the dark howling bottom of the atlantic ocean,
where flesh reduced over centuries to bone
scream as spirits their gale-force presence now,
 
Ghost Voices (Cont’d), page 2, same stanza
 
 
haunted voices climb on shore whistling
 allegories, reveal treks, recollections,
terror of a middle-passage so deep & dark,
so terrible, translucent ghosts
covered their black holes for eyes with diffuse hands,
could not speak of what they saw,
blew out lights of their sights until now,
                                                                                     400 years later,
 
now you hear a few speaking, playing lost rhythms
scripted through skins of talking drums, raising voices
through sounds transferred inside blood recall
locked within african spiritual voices,
now, here, they evoke metaphors
lost in antiquity replays each time you hear them,
their antiphonal music recreated over time
through wooden sticks raising rhythms from drum
skins, rooted within a cultural dna memory,
listen closely, you hear madness tempered there -
anger too from horrors they saw - listen closely,
Ghost Voices (Cont’d), page 3, same stanza
 
 
you will catch survivors enrapturing us
with hypnotic wailing. catterwalling language they spoke
through pulsating glissandos, vibrating
                                                                                              tuning-fork
tomes, cross-fertilized with mysterious reverence;
eye hear them now throbbing, calling through my dreams -
 
& you hear them calling too, reader/listener,
listen closely, you hear them calling you too
 
across time & space, their catterwalling voices
speaking directly to our hearts, listen/hear


their catterwalling voices calling out to you, listen  

 
 

Ghost Voices (Cont’d), page 4, section 3, new stanza 3.
 
The Arrival of Ghost Voices
 
in the dead of night ghost voices come, surround me
here in sleep - caressing spirit-lover – seduces me –
you also reader/listener, if you are attentive – deep
in the dark thoughts prowl outer limits of space, hover, cajole
inside dreams, hold nothing back from cocked ears that know
words sometimes are imprisoned inside -
correct speech lacerated with fawning taste, still there 
are nuances, as the sharp blade of a knife reveals
hidden sweetness slicing through pink-green-
blush of a mango’s skin, reaches
the golden flesh of stringy-nectar - what
the palate sometimes evokes in complex similes,
metaphors, a rapier authority is unleashed
                                               inside moments of pleasure here,
 
reading poetry finds meaning confused inside
pure wordplay, linguistic puzzles, hidden without sound
Ghost Voices (Cont’d), page 5, same stanza
 
 
voices can replicate themselves within effete circles,
severed tongues flap without surprise, song,
the words arrive in a whisper of strangled voices
close to being mute as castrated slaves singing about liberty,
power, reflection of choruses of fawning sycophants,
                                     
                                           so eye am hearing voices carrying true
musical measures identifying beauty here, ricocheting blues,
the terrible passage of pitched voices, haunting hoarseness
caused by salt water swallowed during the journey crossing
the atlantic, raises up, side-by-side with glowing ghost-hyenas –like translucent piranhas searching for flesh somewhere
in fresh river water, in a green place full of blood-sucking flowers, gigantic mosquitos carrying deadly diseases known
only to red-eyed pygmy alchemists – in my fevered dreams
 
eye am hearing sacred chants from dancing priests,
red-eyed witchdoctors, who know secrets
somewhere deep in the underworld of death
will grow into drooping white flowers known by voodoo
Ghost Voices (Cont’d) page 6, same stanza
                                                                 
 
hougans, loas, who alchemize deadly potions,
serve this milk to disbelievers, turn them into zombies,
who slink around speaking rabid words,
                                                                            eating dirt, or clay, 
 
eye am hearing the arrival of those raised holy voices
climbing from the sea as african ghost spirit crabs
arriving in my dreams, eye am listening to their whispering songs - melancholy winds bring siren calls - speak to me now/here
in this place of beautiful waters, in this night of seduction
eye am hearing/listening for you to sing old spirits
so eye will recognize something old, something new,
                                                                                             
                                                                              eye am listening,
listening to your whispering deep song arrival raising up,
seducing in the night, eye am listening, hearing your spirit
voices from the sea, arriving during this sacred night,
eye am dreaming while sitting on my terrace on the western
wing tip of this beautiful butterfly shaped island,
 
Ghost Voices (Cont’d), page 7, new stanza
 
 
dreaming/hearing waves breathing life washing ashore
whispering secrets ancestors kept,
carried from africa, spawning in lullabies here,
living in low, hushed voices swirling in whirlpools eddying
there on beaches of goyave after flowing on shore
inside licking salt water curled like lovers, shaped into intertwined
fingers playing syllabic sprays into songs through vibrating tongues
winds blow in from mouths of saxophones, flutes
where mystery whooshed lost scripts, premonitions,
undertones of history riffing in my heart, 
 
then eye heard them murmuring of journeys crossing
the atlantic, carrying them here to me now
ancestors reduced from time’s ravenous hunger from flesh
to bone to spirits, howling gale-force wind tongues
speaking to me like jet flames spitting,
searing my brain with parables of  great great grandfathers,
great great grandmothers, those who went on to survive, 
became slaves in this tumultuous new born america,
their spirits bathing me now with sprays of revelations,
Ghost Voices (Cont’d), page 8, same stanza
 
 
reincarnations inside spirits speaking to me now
in this moment of history, scaffolding within
cadences, birthing words from skin-wombs of talking drum
rhythms raised by flying hands, tribal memories of slaves
pushed out chained through doors of no return
in gold coast castles in st. louis,  goree, elmina, anomabo -
people from senegambia, mali, mandingo, songhai, akan,
ashanti nations –transported here invisible
spirits after the reaper took them down to swim inside
battalions of atlantic waves, sweeping westward,  
crashing beaches of goyave, just below the terrace
where eye am sitting now, lost in dreaming,
 
they roar in foaming voices of african ghost crab
spirits, carrying their allegories transferred
via metamorphic memory totems in grips of pincer-claws,
a drummer’s sense of time moved here via instinct,
metaphors created with drum sticks evoking speech,
rooted deep in complexity of ancient syllables,
accents, slipping clipped within a tonal language structure
Ghost Voices (Cont’d), page 9, same stanza
 
 
renewed with magic, mysterious flourishes, power,
inside multifarious systems breathing audibles,
                                                         listen, listen closely now,
 
hear royalty brought here, passed down, transformed
through alchemy, musical pitches unleash
cross-fertilized linguistic tones, secret codes, metaphors
these spirits kept locked inside melody, resurrected
african bolts of lightning flashes inside a language
secreting call & response oral rhythms, structure, antiphonal 
poetic forms, dreams, sluicing tempos, voices, call & response
beats, emerging from subterranean places whispering,
flying on wings of tongues speaking run-on sentences
inside raging waves washing ashore foaming, breathing,
alive, evoking spirits to rise – in me – from the wash
sweeping syllables ashore seeking redemption,
a touch of sulfur in their primordial whispers, coalescing,
winding themselves around faith like octopus tentacles
spreading out, then coursing inside rivers of blood-fingers
reaching beyond death, informing voices to raise up
Ghost Voices (Cont’d), page 10, same stanza
 
 
those who swam alongside fish, streaked silver flashes of light streaming through currents holding ancient secret codes,
lineages full of miracles held one to another inside a confidential
privilege, knowing deep-song still breathes, sings when abused
african sensibilities are resurrected in this moment, now,
from primordial places history lived inside, memories, ethos,
holds out faith these lullabies resonate again
whispering through trees, conjugating, arriving
in this new world powerful, original voices - evoking
change through reconciliation, admonitions
vocalizing alchemy, refuse to go back through the swirling waves gathering, listen to their undertones, murmurings of IT,
like birds singing through vibrating reed tongues -
twisting through foaming waves with rage after being chained
to death, starvation, unspeakable horror of a shark’s open mouth,
its fearsome guillotine teeth clamping down on necks,
heads of beloved kinsmen, listen to these solos of salt waves – foreshadowing voices of john coltrane, jimi hendrix,
albert ayler - roaring apoplectic, frothing love on shore
in a torrent of scalding notes, chords, screeching solos,
Ghost Voices (Cont’d), page 11, same stanza
 
 
listen to the catterwalling history in the scaffolding litany
of sacred voices beseeching sea waves thundering all the way
from africa – in gospels, sermons later, in speeches of freedom,
IT – from the mouths of frederick douglas, martin luther king jr., malcolm x, stokeley carmichal  - hear voices cascading onshore,
foaming, spreading over this foreign - though native – place
spraying droplets of rain catching a ride on an eagle’s wing,
soaring across the breath of this bold novel experiment
carrying new gospel of an ancient manna,  
 
listen to the voices swirling out of the atlantic,
hear, be attentive to what is being said of IT,
 
meaning let freedom ring, ring clear as a bell

 
 
Ghost Voices Whispering from the Near Past

they call from the near past whispering
through ether, call fragmented,
 
disembodied,  their meaning climbing from silence,
shapes emerge transparent, seek a form to enter
this bloody world, looking like amoebas
 
they float into space blooming flowers,
voices whispering at the edge of our ears
 


Seduction
 
1.
 
it is the transmission of language through air, eased from lips,
thrown into space – guttural, or beautiful, mundane,
perhaps a miracle – that brings us to reexamine
the vast silence of skies full of planets we thought were diamonds,
when we look down into a deep dark chasm plunging below us
maybe we will face a pregnant moment full of possibilities
echoing up to us, holding out mystery, wonder,
 
then again, we might find ourselves enchanted by seduction,
when our minds were trapped listening to these pulsating echoes
throbbing up from the dark like strobe lights, carrying feelings
we did not recognize, or know but felt them as invitations,
was when we thought of stepping into space, saw ourselves dropping
in a nightmare, our arms flailing cartwheels, eyes fixated somewhere
beyond sleep, perhaps we were dreaming deep inside a moment,
then found what we have been searching for so long
to meet a sacred promise perhaps we thought of keeping
on the other side of sleep, a doorway leading to bereavement,
 
now that we find ourselves here carrying so much baggage –
weight from the journey – we may reconsider what faith taught us
we might discover if all the stars lined up in the dark sky
Seduction (Cont’d), page 2, same stanza
 
 
in the shape of an arrow cocked in a bow, pulled back,
 
                                                                                                          aimed at a target
before the taut string broke, snapped in this hallucination
when belief misfired, devotion wavered, a kernel of doubt flared,
then flickered (like a candle flame there by an open window
                                                                                             
                                                                                              shimmying light,
 
when a tonguing breath of wind switched back & forth
between a gentle breeze & a fierce tongue lashing
an angry jilted lover popping a whip, snaking through space
when she ran the hoodoo down to a shocked, cowering lover),
 
then the sacred vow we swore to keep might shillyshally,
falter, torn between philosophy, religion, need, shaken by greed,
money, trinkets, the lure of sparkling diamonds on fingers,
necklaces around necks reminding of nooses - a hangman’s glory -
the allure of wonder in the swaying back & forth dance of a cobra
flicking its tongue of invitation, balancing beauty & horror -
could be a perfect metaphor of contemporary seduction,
framed in this slender body housing life & death – all of this
might tempt us, like so many lovers who once felt
Seduction (Cont’d), page 3, same stanza
 
 
the exhilaration of language coursing sensuously,
magically through every touch, their eyes always on each other,
the heat of lips pillowing deep in soft flesh, pressing imprints,
tongues entwined inside bellowing furnaces of their mouths,
their lovemaking sizzling with aching heat,
lust, craving to please, then too feeling all this appetite
dissolving, dissipating, then suddenly gone like the candle’s flame
snuffed out when an icy wind knifed through the open window,
like a guillotine dropping its sentence of death on a neck
 
2.
 
what is it then we thought we saw or knew in an instant blessed
with ricocheting syllables, echoing language reverberating, breathing
inventive through a poetic line shimmering in space in the cat eyes
a sweet woman holds shining golden in the darkness
when you both come together in a gushing climax of rapture,
was it music you knew you heard playing so wondrously in her
dancer’s body, moving hypnotically with pulsating rhythms,
scintillating control, evoking the lover you wished for in your dreams,
her honey-heated vagina sweet as an open mouth sucking you into
her luscious twin gifts –the lure, sweetness of it all – the heat
that brought you here seeking consummation,
Seduction (Cont’d), same stanza, page 4
 
 
before your imagination exploded with the miracle
you deeply felt when release coursed through both your bodies,
your spirits opened up as flowers, as when great music is made
then heard in space, the beauty & power of words
when poetry suffuses with dreams, becomes a suite of longing
 
3.
 
it is time you look deeply into moments when events come
surprising you with wonder, what did miles say, “play above
everything you know,” you might enter a sacred zone
where creation becomes improvisational, necessary,
 
you can enter space inside yourself where magic soars,
risk-taking is imbued with mysterious powers,
you might not recognize the allure seduction brings to the table,
after all the failures, struggles, love involved in great invention,
even when surrounded by silence of the deep dark hole,
the invitation where you might be standing over, even now,
you hear something calling, seducing your spirit - some call it suicide,
others call it life, art - something on the other side of what you know,
 
perhaps there is a new music in the vast silence of black skies
Seduction (Cont’d), page 5, same stanza
 
 
full of planets we thought were diamonds, brings to our ears
what was heard in the cat eyes of that wondrous woman
you have been dreaming of knowing forever, as when a poem
beckons you with a language beyond literary metaphor,
is a visual rendering full of inventive new rhythms
your imagination has never heard, nor your ears recognized the colors
in sounds of vivid paint-strokes, stevie wonder’s music of plants,
voices pure with mystery, magical, – duende? -
 
beyond seduction, yet seducing you anyway, in this moment,
your eyes, ears informing your heart what beauty to love       





Blue Mandela 
HSP Proof print credit: Jeffrey Hanson Scales





Quincy Troupe is the author of 20 books, including 10 volumes of poetry and three children’s books. His awards include the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, the Milt Kessler Poetry Award, three American Book Awards, the 2014 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award and a 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from Furious Flowers. His work has been translated into over 30 languages. Troupe’s latest book of poems is Errançities (2012). Presently, he is completing 2 new books of poems, Seduction and a book length poem titled, Ghost voices. He is also working on a novel, The Legacy of Charlie Footman; a memoir, Changes: The Accordion Years; and an untitled book of non-fiction prose. Mr. Troupe is co-author with Miles Davis of Miles: the Autobiography; Earl the Pearl with Earl Monroe; The Pursuit of Happyness, with Chris Gardner; and the editor of James Baldwin: The legacy. Troupe is also the author of Miles and me, a memoir of his friendship with Miles Davis, scheduled in late 2017 to be released as a major motion picture, for which he wrote the screenplay. Troupe is Professor Emeritus from the University of California, San Diego, edits Black Renaissance Noire at New York University. and lives in Harlem, New York. with his wife, Margaret.