ROCKPILE on the road / 1

Michael Rothenberg


A miniature life hangs from my neck
It could be a bull in a China shop or Ganesh
carried across the world on a necklace
I will follow you there and back if you don’t
mind a little death in the accompanying vapor

A bandoneon stretches out over the horizon
A tango, secret life of dust, the jazz tradition
and the tradition it defies
We’re going there because we must

Windmills in the solar age
How could I confuse you with the last crusade?
With that new worn gray beard, cherub face
And all those sticks and legs and wheels
It’s another kind of machinery that drops me
on the stage to explain it all away

Alcoholic Iraqi vet, 23 years old, with skin cancer
Memory loss, post-traumatic stress syndrome,
becoming a writer, on a jet plane home
from Victoria, BC, must write it all down,
so he doesn’t forget, on those scraps of paper
he can’t waste

The fuzzy ball of a dog, your mangy totem
Barks at your heels, licks your face
Listens for your voice. Is that you David?
Flight delayed, caught in a tornado in Kansas,
a thunderstorm in Oklahoma,
a black hole in Utah, remember
that beautiful white town in the mountains
where you spoke about the beginning and
the end with all the other great elephants
Herded under the Beat banner to convince
the natives you are not a total lunatic

Ahh! Those gray haired ladies adore you
Bark! Here comes Ziggy with his fuzzy balls
and pink nose. Totem bliss!

Unable to rest, rushing to the Sabbath, a mitzvah
On a high-wire, wired, on the street outside
the sushi restaurant saturated in sake and hemp
You want to keep partying until dawn
But we’ve got a plane to catch, another mission

That province by the bayou awaits your singular breath
Trombones, accordions, fiddles and clarinets
They don’t know you there, so…. they don’t think about you
Gnarly hands on the frets, that giant shoe,
clear voice streams through a cosmos of pick up sticks
Let’s go! David. Let’s pick it up from here!

May 25, 2009

previous page     contents     next page



Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger