March 9, 2015

Michael Bazzett

THE EVERYDAY

I have to confess this isn’t the first time
I’ve wondered what I might do
if I possessed an operatic tenor
that could float above the quotidian day
into a sky filled with clouds and light.
My voice might linger in the emptiness,
kiting there on its muscular wings
as I stood at the bus stop below,
my hand tucked snugly in my pocket,
fingering the proper change, as usual.
In between arias I would probably
crane my melodic neck into the street
to see if the square face of the bus,
with its stolid brow of amber lights,
was nosing through morning traffic,
hoping for once that it might be late
and give me a few more moments
to lift my voice into the morning
bearing its tumultuous song of Italian pain.
I vow that I would use this gift
only as necessary, sometimes a quaver,
sometimes a sob, whether waiting in line
at the bank or leaving an outdoor café,
the tip tucked under a coffee cup
so that the only thing that might be
blown away would be my fellow diners
as I squared myself and launched
into a raucous Di quella pira l’orrendo foco
as a sign of gratitude for the apple pie,
with its crust, so buttery, and its subtle
hint of cinnamon. As the final notes
died into a resonant silence, I would
flip my scarf over one shoulder,
and touch one hand to my heart,
as I waded out through the tiny tables,
the members of my string section
following at a discrete distance,
nodding appreciatively, because
yes, a gypsy may have cursed
the little brother of the count
and thus my mother will no doubt
be burned at the stake, but it was
marvelous pie, and the coffee
was pleasing, and really, isn’t it
the everyday that needs celebrating?

from Rattle #46, Winter 2014

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Michael Bazzett: “I write poems wondering how they’re going to end. The truth about where they come from, as far as I can tell, is contained within these brackets {                        }.”