Daily Archives: June 7, 2016

I’m No Christian

“…Satan, your kingdom
must come down…”

Thinly voiced, static-creaky,
Blind Joe Taggart’s guitar 
drives the old tune down
a narrowly rising and
falling blue road — and
am I hearing a distant trumpet
in the background?  Not in the song
itself, not in the recording,
but out in the neighborhood
somewhere.  Never heard brass
like that around here before.
The ancient crank who lives 
across the street will now and then
play marching music, military bands
blaring from the second floor
in summer, but this is farther away
and not like that at all; it’s at once
more plaintive and more ominous,
fluidly expert, a dangerous snake
of a melody falling in behind
this old-time apocalyptic warning
of Heaven’s eventual triumph:

“…I heard the voice of Jesus say,
Satan, your kingdom
must come down…”

I’m no Christian, not at all;
I just like to hear a good guitar
driving a good road. 
I like the crackle
of old gospel blues recordings.
I like to stand apart
from dead voices and hear
what drove them to sing 
without feeling like I need to fall in
with their fervor for the subject. I like
that chance to pick and choose
my personal soundtrack
for what may or may not be

the End Of Days without feeling like
I have to despair and wail along,

but man oh man,
I did not count on that trumpet.