Finding the Art of Lost Faith
For Robert Farris Thompson, Maya Deren & Ishmael Reed

By Quincy Troupe

1. Beginnings: A Place of Silence

in a place beyond our knowing silence reigns, darkness,
perhaps, some light, echoes, in this vast space,
perhaps, it is a never world, an ether-world of maybe,
if spirits amongst us know what It is they have never spoken,
perhaps, shadows have, over/underground, in some invisible space,
perhaps, surrounded by air, water, where spirits of creation exist,
swimming or zooming around outside our comprehension,
a place where only imagination through prayer, can, maybe, take us,
to a road, perhaps, a passageway stretching long & far,
deep into the past, perhaps, a doorway leading to nowhere, or what,
nobody knows, only silence, maybe, recognizes language echoes speak
in this vast place beyond knowing, are there bones, teeth, hair, skulls,
ribcages, toes, fingers here, are maggots here, too,
do they speak some kind of music in this beyond world,
do they understand silence, the twilight world of myth, memory
of water, earth, sky, wind, the memory of fire, earthquakes, thunder,
the memory of storms, lightning, ice, the memory of creation,
birth, death, the memory of everything here & gone, everywhere
a mystery, is what we know is certain, an idea of something
without shape or form, pulsating with what we know is power,
It is a metaphysical presence, a blessing with what we know
is the ability to heal & destroy this space we live in
only by Its invitation, sanction, only by Its blessing,
this place we’ve been born into with so much amnesia


Quincy Troupe is the author of seventeen books, including eight volumes of poetry, the latest of which is The Architecture of Language, recipient of the 2007 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement. He received the 2003 Milt Kessler Poetry Award for Transcircularities: New and selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2002), selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the ten best books of poetry published in 2002, and named finalist for the 2003 Paterson Poetry Prize. Mr. Troupe is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing and American and Caribbean Literature at the University of California, San Diego; founder of Code Magazine; and former Artistic Director of “Artists on the Cutting Edge,” a reading and performance series held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Mr. Troupe was the first official Poet Laureate of the State of California, and he currently edits Black Renaissance Noire, an academic, cultural, political and literary journal published by the Africana Studies Program and the Institute of African American Affairs at New York University. Mr. Troupe lives between New York City and Goyave, Guadeloupe, with his wife, Margaret.

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