64 Dimensions*

1. e4

They claim it began with Adam,
some sentient man born haunted
by inner systems. The design
of blood, bone; arranged to perish.
The mind, made into doors ajar
for ghosts, shamans, bewilderment.
“I survive,” to mean: inventing
power is something of a curse.

1. …e5

The roads beneath us were for slaves,
I’m told. A blackness permitted
to space without geography.
If not this America, flee
into other ones below it.
I’d say murder whiteness, but yet,
I’m afraid of what death does now,
its simple access to regret.

















*These pieces are in Nkululeko’s own form titled “The Caissa”: 8 syllables each line, 8 lines in total, reflecting the 8×8 dimensions of a chess board; there must be at least one light and dark image present. The title of each poem corresponds with a chess move.


What is the name of the violence they have learned?
What kind of love have they learned?
Why is it so terrifying when we love ourselves?

The Orange Tree

Slaves, who did not volunteer to board the ships of chains and salts, and whose legacy casts a shadow much longer and darker than the fern, are not physically in this photo, yet their contribution is loud.