Cante Jondo: When I Heard She Was Gone

My hands fell into my lap.
My palms
opened
face up.

I called out,
Who has a hand drum?
hoping to pound this
away from me.

I sang “Shenandoah,”
hoping to lure Death
far away, across the wide river —
but he stayed

for his flamenco moment.
Darkstruck guitar, dark heels and hands,
dark dance, dark jewel.
Cante jondo, they say. Deep, dark song.

Duende, putting a song into the air
to fill a hole
in the air. It’s not about death,
they say.  It’s about life.  And it is, and

they also say it is enough
though it is not enough.
But say it enough, maybe
it will become enough.

At the hospital, no music.
What sound they had for me was thin and cruel.
It’s nothing to repeat here.
I came home after I listened and heard enough,

and sat with
my hands
in my lap,
palms up.

Cante jondo, duende,
what can you bring to this,
to the hole in the air, to the not enough?
I am waiting to receive word

from far away, you rolling river,
from across the wide Missouri,
of dark eyes wide open,
a flash song in the deep, even just a chord.  That

will be enough,
even if at once
it is not enough again…oh,
where is my bright dancer?

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

2 responses to “Cante Jondo: When I Heard She Was Gone

  • Thomas Davis

    I’m impressed. I’ve been rummaging through the blog, and you are a poet to be reckoned with. This is the stuff that good anthologies are constructed from so that poetry echoes on down the years.

    • Tony Brown

      Thank you. I took a peek at yours as well…mighty fine.

      I should point out that everything — the good, the bad, the mediocre — goes up here. It’s a long-term project on documenting an entire body of work. Quixotic, but it’s who I am. Thanks for looking through and finding the better among the mass.

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