/m lippman

Low End Theory Fugue—Mash-Up

The low end theory is the theory of the mash-up.
Take the fourth section of “Day In The Life,”
sift in some Black Panthers,
some Ezekiel mixed in with Lilith,
Brahms, Brahman, salt, and mahogany,
whatever you want, really,
whatever the hell you want,
and that’s the low end theory.
The theory of the low end theory
is that it’s everywhere and everything and everyone.
You just have to get through the glass
without breaking the glass.
Anne says, I got it.
I said, You were born with it.
Truth is, I am right.
We were all born with it,
then they put us in the up and down elevator
but once you get into the side by side elevator,
the 4th dimension elevator,
you can move through the glass
back to that place beyond birth.
The mash-up joint where Q-Tip
and his mixer slide rhymes
between beats
and it does not matter what color you are
just as long as you dance with anyone who asks.

Low End Theory Fugue–Rising

When I thought I heard Yo Yo Ma play Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1
it was just the sound of Anne’s voice
against the elevator glass.
She was leaned up against it.
Her breath went in and then
it went out.
I could feel her trying to breathe her way through to the other side.
The elevator went up and down.
It went in and throughout
and I could see the condensation of her air
and then it disappeared
and sounded like Yo Yo Ma’s bow
against Yo Yo Ma’s strings
but it was just the sound of Anne breathing against her breath.
It was the low end of the back end of any theory
I have ever had or felt about the power of music, beat, rhythm and rhyme.
She’s trying to get somewhere, Q Tip said,
like he had been with me from the beginning.
Like you know what God is
when you know what God is.
We’re all trying really hard, I said, in ascension,
me on the elevator floor, Anne, leaned up against the glass,


Matthew Lippman’s collection, MESMERIZINGLY SADLY BEAUTIFUL, won the 2018 Levis Prize and will be published by Four Way Books in 2020.