[Thanks & gratitude to my friend Brittany Newmark for making her latest poem available to Robert Frost's Banjo.]
Salt & Song
What if you were to sing to me?
Would that be so hard? Am I asking for so much?
Make it in illo tempore
and only in a woman’s voice,
Let her voice taste of salt
and smell of chalk and
let us know the hunger behind the voice
In fact let us hear it once and
then instantly be ground down to dust and course grains
as if some terrible desolation is visited upon those
that even heard her voice
because it will happen soon enough.
Oh look at us. Oh hold us tight
No one shall be amazed
when they realize that it will be
the voice of a woman that calls us home and soothes our reckless past.
This is the caesura I speak of . . .
My opus, will knock down barn doors,
will call a hoedown,
will spread it wings, arch its neck and coo like a fat grey pigeon,
in the next life.
In the meantime we wear the error of our ways like a black eye patch
Heroic and elegant that invariably leads to
some gossip that is told before we even enter a room
and gives us a kind of cachet in certain circles.
In truth we should be overlooked (we have done nothing worthwhile)
Except for the fact that
the Google camera watches us from nearby trees and poles,
Its heart is breaking and it cries its eyes out, for us.
But we do not have the technology yet to tell it that it will be okay.
It will all be all right,
as soon as we . . .
Oh ye of little faith
Praise the salt,
Lick it off the back of his neck,
It tells the story of old wounds and of lives not yet born
It tells the story carried in the DNA
That we don’t talk about don’t dare tell the unborn what will happen in
They say each of is visited by an angel in the womb and shown the whole
expanse of the world and the angel strikes our baby lips and we forget the vision,
lose sight of the world.
Maybe that’s what going on
Because salt is human, the brine of our being and memory an empty room.
There was a time when I walked around hearing the sonorous calls
Of men like some kind of evangelism. Tonight, America is tired
and bored and angry
The voice now that fills the gaping yawn on the radio speaks of
the religious oppression, and the caller,
“Caller from Athens, Ohio,
Yes you’re on the air”
The voice fills the air with enough sexuality for me to admit, yes my pain
Is of a sexual nature, identity by rote.
We are going off the grid,
Can no longer bear the roar from the black helicopters
In the morning I will place the white tulips and the Asian Iris in a cream colored pitcher that holds milk or hurts
that pours out the sad chronic fatigue
We don’t have the technology yet to address the pain, so we treat it like hunger
With daily bread.
What a loss:
And the only words of the song I remember,
Oh my you have a pretty face,
How would it be if we got to see our own lives open like a secret note passed
Out of the camera shot?
Or as a sweep panorama seen at the great distance, like from the
Deck of the Starship Enterprise
The newest among us, how awed and baffled they must feel with their eyes flooded
And any memory of the eternal
Can we tempt fate, or hum and tap our lips to forget what we have seen and then
Admonish each other for not feeling the right sorry.
I know what to do because
If I went into the coffin business people would stop dying.