Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another revision

Here's a failed poem from four years ago. I decided to give it another shot.


While the band took a break,
someone pushed
a jukebox button.
A sax riff swirled,
exquisite as fog
in an open field.
The piano rumbled ominous
acorns of malletheads bounced
off a tightened tom
into the open well
of a dark bassline.
When the tune ended,
I walked over
to read its name.
"Alabama" by John Coltrane.
I stood stunned
in a corner of the club,
thinking this song
the most sad
and beautiful thing
I'd ever know.

Last night you paused
in a doorway,
hair furious
over an exposed shoulder,
lips freshly glossed
and fraught into a frown.
You asked if I had
any last thing to say
before you turned . . .
I thought of our first kiss,
your tongue
the outstretched hand
of a drowning woman,
you whispering
"You can take me, however you wish,
but never have me."

I scanned those eyes,
the surface of a dammed river,
a willow frozen in winter.
I come here now
humming "Alabama,"
to speak three words
I never thought
my lips could form:

I was wrong.
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