The Little Edges

The Little Edges

by Fred Moten

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Overview

Winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship (2016)

The Little Edges is a collection of poems that extends poet Fred Moten's experiments in what he calls "shaped prose"—a way of arranging prose in rhythmic blocks, or sometimes shards, in the interest of audio-visual patterning. Shaped prose is a form that works the "little edges" of lyric and discourse, and radiates out into the space between them. As occasional pieces, many of the poems in the book are the result of a request or commission to comment upon a work of art, or to memorialize a particular moment or person. In Moten's poems, the matter and energy of a singular event or person are transformed by their entrance into the social space that they, in turn, transform. An online reader's companion is available at http://fredmoten.site.wesleyan.edu.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780819576705
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication date: 07/05/2016
Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 656,366
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

FRED MOTEN is a professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Arkansas, Poems (with Jim Behrle), I ran from it but was still in it, Hughson's Tavern, B Jenkins, The Feel Trio, and the critical works In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition and The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (with Stefano Harney).

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

fortrd.fortrn

To see this poem as it appears in the printed book, please click here.



that's what rodney asked about,
can you make what we already (do you remember/how did the people)

have? let it get around and get on in

  complicity,
  in scar city,
ar. complexcity

  in complicita, la. here go a box with a lid on it. if you open it you can come into our world.

  up in here you look
  like cutty do. house
  look like he up. if so,

  don't you wanna go?

live, remote, preoccupied with breathing and black as machine ecology, iron man, all over the pan, all over the basin,

duone, chant carry pauses and actually live inside 'em, gift double, to see things and say can hear them vary, pearl,
from then beginning all gone inside, remember, threshold,
surround her separateness with bands but if I were a bell?

exhaustion makes life ever lasting. when I dance with

you I am the moved mover.

baby, you're a solid sender.

we pound plenty, baby, softened in our program, our transubstantial fade and crossfade bodies, baby.

take this and think about

me in the first place. begin in the real presence of my

skin, baby. you shook me!
your hand is my pocket.

I'm a pocket man. your hand is in my pocket. I fix broken rockets. you

are my starship. you're all I need. you send for me and I can't keep my self from coming, baby,

as I am, I have what I already have, I'm yours.

precision and humility in the experiment is written on the way you customize your

uniform, a ritual of lotion and stillness in the morning, 'fore you make it in to work

on the edge of your train

on the edge because you're driven to the edge in your violent correctness,

over the edge of what you're listening to like somebody listening to you.

you might
  be one.

you might be someone that needs listening to. you might need somebody, too.
a lot of this is found in what we have. almost all of this belongs to you. are you gon' gimme some? naw, you on your way to work,

little sister. that's alright, young man. bye, baby.

the unspeakable tower is what they did.
our shit has some names and sometimes they sound good at the bottom of it, therefore proceed against that little pill-head fucker that correct people's pronunciation.

fotrad.fotran ain't really got to where we got somewhere to go,

premature precepts dripped from deferred foreskins,

brought out from nowhere with forecepts with no receptacle,
but early on my grammar cleft my palette with okras

and blues. mimi said don't listen to them blues.

she knew she should because her shoe moved. she knew the man playing ray charles was ray charles. she put the jazz-cri on an early stove, cooked it down to a low gravy,

(with this trade, these little fours, your dirty palette, a savory train between in blood sorbet)

let it dry and made a vase out of it. we poured what was in it on our greens and blues and ochres, our loud flavors and the tree we danced around, the tree we made a movie around,
against that little pill-head fucker that correct people's predestination.

fo fo fo four four four

fore fore fore foe foe foe

semper fe, semper fi, motherfucker,

fume instead of kill. the incident in crosshatch is a burst of whispers. a mouthpiece and burred air. in need turned out to be our desire. a video

of the archive in play. it's some indelicate

news on the wall. something in silence for everything that everybody ever wanted. cri sis for everything that ever burned inside.

my baby's black representational space is another world.

black workers of the other world unite up in there, one named peanut the other named bush, making shit up in

chance theater, which is a truck farm in exploded rows.

my baby's black representational space is the south dakota hills. you like the comfortable surprise of its location? see how it travels? it's other than itself and

it sells itself that way. whose little self are you? mine.

my baby's black representational space is all over the

place so he got to move his body. body cut the neuro

typical field with a razor in the shape of a basketball.
somebody sing give me body you can hear it bounce.

my baby's black representational space is a black head on

some black skin. in the city of the blemish on the blemish of delivery the mayor's name is da mayor; but you can call her woody or few or mole in the ground or at your service.

hand up to your ear

To see this poem as it appears in the printed book, please click here.

(for you to find a way to sound and move, dont rhymes with robert's selmer like a plastic fuse, to blow out the emperor's

ambience with shouting in the theological desert of the city. you bring with you to galleries an echo of shipping, an avenue

warehouse, a river bea, and the prendergast machine is discipline against an echo of shopping, too much arrangement in

the head, susan's sound through store-bought power. that show of shows is a bill of lading, a business pleasure, and the auctioneer's nervous run is overtaken by worn shadow, homeless ware is walking, the armory is walking away, some nervous

agent in the air)

Dont Rhine and Robert Sember 1.24.12/3.29.12
CAConrad, Amiri Baraka, Angela Davis, M. NourbeSe Philip 4.16-20.12
laurie prendergast and Susan Jahoda (diving) 5.5.12


You are a base community

Apprehend before the sound. The cargo, the brutalized openings, which also surround it, but only for a time that can't be measured, in permeance. It's an imprecision bordering on invasion to call this context, that

rapturous silence, shouting, composed in listening so we discompose ourselves in one another. Lose your

composure in repose, at rest, in descent, in the general murmur, a general antagonism of noise, the fugue of the absolutely poor, her gift of diving, her depressive largesse of lifting, in study, in series, her overlapped happenings of attendance, lapsed concentricities, submerged cyphers, like a bunch of little churches and ballrooms with open doors.

You are the bottom

We care about each other so militantly, with such softness, that we exhaust ourselves, and then record,
in the resonance of our slightly opened mouths, the sound of that, in the absence of the enemy that we keep making.

A disconnected movement, as if preoccupied, held already in the beautiful gathering afternoon, carried by one

another as one another's play mamas. Listen to the sound through one another's skin. Preserve the sound through membrane and water, to find our form in corresponding.

Your body is a mixing board

Come take a listening walk and admire your hand twisting. The listening is in watching how you move to

touch in sounding, brushing up against your friend, to see how his position sounds to make the music we are making by moving the people moving around. Make soundworks out of rustling to notice the material that

comes up on us, that we come upon, do something with. Do something with the sound like it's your friend,

like you met her at the quadrophenic playground.

You are a child, in a club

One night in San Francisco, off the impeccable to fray nailed stud of a live black hawk, of the more and less

than full divided air of a mystophone, through her diviséd air, o master of ceremonies miles, like a speaker in a

whisper with a monster, say form a pit and brush somebody hand. Make a mix in violent rubbing till your work

is gone. Make a prompt a foursquare then the squares collapse as separates but other than before till work is made to disappear to register its fields as present in the sound and its sources. Everybody brush somebody

hand till work is gone to the alternate slam. How long can you sustain the foursquare? This is how to make

little works just walking down the street, collaborating with the hand you brush, as shawls serrate the length of her arcade.

You want sensory issues

Curate the sound you make by jumping. Flap your hands before your eyes. In lengthening, become from another country. Imitate the movement but expel more air. Say this is your house and run a lap in it but dance

with the air immediately around the ones who seem at home. Repeat a word or phrase, slightly louder, up three steps then down, like a color block in a Hoffman painting. For a minute say every letter of every word

but slowly. Hold somebody hand up to your ear.

hard enough to enjoy

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Ralph Lemon was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Queen Records' infant archivist and rhythmicon, his contributions to the theory of gravity, a flowncrawled chorograph of attractions breathing the variously collided particles of isley, collins, wilder, troutman, fleetwood and all the ungendered fraternal players

of southwest Ohio, are crucial to that terrible arc of funk and flesh of which impossible mothers speak with

electromagnetic slide. Later, charged with the blackness of physics, its extralegal social surrealities, in search of

conceptual thaw having survived the river's violent floes and squalls, its seizing distancing, but drawn to the river of rivers of rivers, Lemon began a long series of residencies in itinerance. His efforts, filed under

vanishing in binding, disappear in the world's most important collections and divisions.

Our clearing is patrolled as a series of air, spirals in conjunction made by pointed running. It was affirmation

where we learned how to talk by walking pointedly, to organize air offstride by tapping, like a lion. My touch,

my mouth all fixed to say these words, my listening in winter, my mirror glancing. Big-eyed cartoon, all this in

there as an audible surface that my eye wants to help you think about as you feel me. Feel me? That's why I always ask you if you feel me. Because I know you feel me. I ask you if you feel me because I know you feel me.

Another alignment of questions and I could be having a coke with you. I could be riding around with you,
like

elements in an open field, spinning in ourselves till our supports collapse into a choir, a batterie of iron on the floor, a pallet on the floor, a plywood blanket for some intimate unrest. All these layers of not returning to

before and before, here come here come here come, are flowers made of crystal and crusted syrup. Our seasoning is hambone and our self-abuse our swirling coattails and chant array. Big-legged cartoon, perform

our box of wonders from the book of wonder.

This order winds its way around the hills out from Oxford. Everybody fell in love with everybody hollering,

everybody waiting on everybody whining, everybody tapping and wobbling, the kettle whining, everybody

struggling to play, everybody staying while everybody come and go. We couldn't wait for labor day in Othar's bright-edged fusillade and savor. We couldn't wait without remembering them buried all together,
Folosade

Thomas echoing and leading, winding at the head of our wailing abbey's forming with pleasure in abandon,

tarrying, tasting in abandonment in stepping and studying why we can't.

Gone nowhere, gone everywhere, here come marching. This burled expanse of welcome homelessness sound

like marching. Here come here come last time. I sat and waited for you to leave. Ain't I gon' see you no more?

How can you stay? The southern question of travel makes a joyful noise and moves slowly in awareness. Now

we can speculate on the relay of our common activity, make a circle round our errant roots. Dancing is what

we make of falling. Music is what we make of music's absence, the real presence making music underneath.

I'm exhausted so my soul is rested.

Ralph Lemon was born in Alternative, Mississippi. Like many alternatives of Mississippi he was schooled in a

chain of monastic launchpads, reading underconceptual repair, making arrangements and the theory of

repercussion. In repose in the experiment, set at an angle, just a-pausin' while a-sittin' and a-rockin', just posed

against standing, still inclined to engage in forensic study of the auction block of ideas and its stained wood but open also to her echo, his efflorescence, nothing — what else can you expect from corrosion in bloom?

corrosion in bloom is all you can expect; all you can expect is everything — is hard enough to enjoy.

nothing, even more, and another.

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your things invite me so

quietly, I thought your

legs were so beautifully shaven, your space was

light and different and

your surfaces, and your

brush, your application

is a movie with so many

sequels, such multiple

indemnities and hsian

potentials burn, nothing even more and another.

aj, this for underneath your beautiful proof of concept.

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Man, it is but

  it ain't fold or

  fold in or lay out or spin or walk awayarray arrange. frere
  keep fading
  aanic tape and flash and shit and broken stream

I thought was streamed with broken

  are

rhythm where we went awry

we a broken category?

  lull between pings but no

hard

inside pulse and more than

open enough to not get bothered or to stand being bothered by overlap or by

  somebody watching or by

  somebody else

but if it is

  somebody else or if he

  is

  here this could be her

  sound.

eve is a texture dave is centering.

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eve is a texture

dave is centering our whirring be

your bird ok

in government

and binding

nothingness is

in capacity

a moisture

unsurrounds our gathering

and pouring our came and

sent our drop

of chocolate of

a song in hand

our open bowl in studio in assyrian air in oil in serenade interrogate our leaves and air in saying

savoring of air

in stir from talk

of searing and

enhanced to hand

our salad is your

touch extreme

and braided fingers dressed in sugar

through emulsion like a spur your

final plural curve

mudede waters like josé muñificent.

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the ordinary groove is strange. my accent be off

like that. the fremde, friend, is an ordinary fray.

you the from thing. shake your grove thing till

we're reunited at the angels' library. an annual

fade announced off fenian fenelonian fanonian

tranche but also that flange and quequenian la

as a rainbow of saints. my legacy is elegant but

found. aw, just appreciate/the little things I do.
the unusual threads and thrends are like doves.

are you every day and I really do love you every

day for a long time in another tongue? curving

is expecting you and we been studying the city

for a long time in our way of walking away with

the cutaway chute and coat and chassis by hand.

wait for it

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you remain the future in our present like an accent pause that gramsci had to measure. living better now that double tap stop till then till that is your time we're in love with waiting. we can't so we can surprise so we can

attend and take urgent care. the erotic cure, which shows up as, which gives us, so that it ought to give us,

pause is our propulsion. who do what's been done can't wait for it and can't walk off. who recognize the

future don't wait on us, but because they don't know about service, about what it is to be an instrument,
decide they just ain't gon' wait. they miss something, they missing something, our liveness in reverb, this re:

that we refer to something, that we regard something, that we in regard to something else. they tell us what they think they know and we wait till they understand. I'm tired of waiting till they understand. see you later.

the gramsci monument

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if the projects become a project from outside then the projects been a project forever. held

in the projects we the project they stole. we steal

the project back and try to give it back to them.

come on, come get some of this project. we protect

the project with our open hands. the architect is in mining and we dispossess him. we protect the project by handing.

let's bust the project up. let's love the project. can the

projects be loved? we love the projects. let's move the projects. we project the projects. I'm just projecting the project's mine to give away. I'm not mine when I dispossess me I'm just a projection.

projection's just us that's who we are that's who

we be. we always be projecting. that's all we have.
we project the outside that's inside us. we the

outside that violates our block. we violate the auction block

experiment. we pirates of ourselves and others. we the friend

of all. we the cargo. are you my treasure? you all I need. are you my wish? come be my sunship. you are

my starship. you meant to fly but don't be late. I dream

the sails of the project from the eastern shore. plywood sails the city island past the enclave mirror till the bricks arise.

at the fugitive bar and the food be tasting good. kitchenette

my cabin and flesh be burning in the hold. I love the way

you smell. your cry enjoys me. let me taste the way you think.

let's do this one more time while the project repeats me. the project

incompletes me. I am replete with the project. your difference folds me in your arms, my oracle with sweets, be my

confection engine. hear my plea. tell me how to choose.
tell me how to choose the project I have chosen. are you

the projects I have chosen? You are the project I choose.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "The Little Edges"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Frederick Moten.
Excerpted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

fortrd.fortrn hand up to your ear hard enough to enjoy nothing, even more, and another.
aj, this for underneath your beautiful proof of concept.
eve is a texture dave is centering.
mudede waters like josé muñificent.
wait for it the gramsci monument all topological last friday evening all all up on that t-shirt akomfrahgment dance warm sweet nancy wilson saved frank ramsay.
I lay with francis in the margin.
ra, your gignity our echo.
grad grind, gentles, till the park is gone.
jaki byard, blues for smoke test laura (made me listen to
Acknowledgments

What People are Saying About This

M. NourbeSe Philip

“The poems in The Little Edges work the margins of language—the African American vernacular with its powerfully kinetic resources as well as the more elevated and elegant language of the academy—blending and juxtaposing them in ways that result in an utterly fresh poetic idiom.”

Maggie Nelson

“The poetic vision, or sound, of The Little Edges is remarkable in its range of reference, deep music, surprise at every turn, softness of lyric address coupled with political meditation, and undeniable beauty.”

From the Publisher

"The poetic vision, or sound, of The Little Edges is remarkable in its range of reference, deep music, surprise at every turn, softness of lyric address coupled with political meditation, and undeniable beauty."—Maggie Nelson, author of Bluets and The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning

"The poems in The Little Edges work the margins of language—the African American vernacular with its powerfully kinetic resources as well as the more elevated and elegant language of the academy—blending and juxtaposing them in ways that result in an utterly fresh poetic idiom."—M. NourbeSe Philip, author of Zong!

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