Thursday, March 8, 2012

Salt & Song

[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,
                                                                                And listen
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
                    this life.

                                    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
                                                                wiped clean
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.

Brittany Newmark
©  2012

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