No. 7


Bruce Smith 


Winter in the “new” house where the uncle-stolen
fruits were provisions against the dark of the dark
and the old woman who was someone’s smoking sister

fumed about nothing, and like tortured demons
the brass cherubs wheeled furious around a sparking,
sooty candle.  I held my ear against the transistor

radio uncle “bought” as the world of possessions
took on the irony of quotations, the Hark
the herald angels sang vexed with evangelistic spit

and what was that swaying of the stations
whose word was counter to the smart Dick Clark
of American Bandstand, resistant or

mutinous to the stories located somewhere east of Eden?
In one ear the exhausted talk of Cutty Sark
in the high balls.  In the other ear the hiss

and hum — reptile and mammal — like all the twin
creatures in the hold of an invisible ark.
Voices of the black and white Christmas.  Mr.

Georgie Woods, the Man with the Goods, said his Amens.
I miss him — his unseen face in the place, patriarch
of the enchanted and the blistering

blue that Xed me.  And in the kitchen
the cold meats that were gifts from the abattoir
made a payment to the silence, a lip service

to the free lunch absolved in the colon.
Once the world rhymed.  The din of hearts
muted to a lub-Dub, equivalent, insistent

call and response of the body and the soul swollen
in tribulation or rapture, born in the dark
likeness of the song and what it is.




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