Daily Archives: April 17, 2017

Instruments

On my rack,
a guitar the size
of New Mexico.
Tone drawn from
scraped concrete
and morning traffic.
Neck slim as
a racist’s excuse,
strung up tight and bright
to breakpoint. When I need
to write a song about white fire
rising from the caved chest
of a corpse, this flies
from its wall to my hands.

There also is
a small guitar there,
tucked behind the left ear
in a Victorian portrait
of an unnamed
woman, a guitar so small
I could swallow it and 
I do — not often and not
without choking.
It comes
without my asking
to my sleep, where
my long throat tunes it
to an open chord
when my need is for
a song that lights its own
flame. I find it warming me
upon waking; I come to slowly,
wondering at this sound within.

I cannot tell you all the names
of all the instruments that live near me;
some are ancient, some are new.
Some plant blasts,
some stick giggles
all over everything.  

Their only commonality
is that if another took them
and tried to play, I do believe
they would fall to dust in their hands
and blow away, perhaps to become
mingled with the dunes in White Sands
or piled upon the paired graves
of centuries-old lovers;
never to be played again

unless somehow 
they were to find me, bereft 
and songless, lingering here
long past my time
in dire need of

a dirge, an elegy, a tune
to bear me away.


Blood, Broken, World, Dream, Moment

Certain words — blood, broken,
world, dream — pretend to offer
surplus truth when I use them lately.

It’s my curse of the moment.
(Moment is another currently
resonant breath that promises more

than it delivers.) I’ve seized on these
particular little bombs and deploy them
too often. It’s as if they are

stuck to my tongue and won’t let go.
Each day’s the same: I wake up,
shudder at the morning news,

bow my head to work and mourn 
and out they come, stale prayer:
blood, broken, world, dream, moment.

They shuffle, rearrange themselves and me:
broken world, blood dream moment;
broken moment, blood world dream;

dream blood, world moment broken.
I am supposed to be better at this, 

I tell myself.  I am supposed to be

in control of words and that is now
in doubt. Even if the world moment
is a blood dream, I’m not supposed to be

broken when I face it. I’m called to be
better than this broken chant, to offer
better than a tired dream to this world

obsessed with blood at this moment.
I’m supposed to watch the news and 
snatch a more profound vocabulary

with which to speak of it — yet here
we are and here I am staring into this,
a deep crack filled with echoes: blood,

blood, blood; broken, broken,
broken; world, world; moment,
moment; dream, dream, dream.