ARS POETICA HARMONICA
Call me aerophone. Call me free-reed.
I am the song’s honey-comb:
on nostalgia’s star-flied, toe-tapped, steamy-screened-
in porch, I bay to your blind uncle’s fretting banjo
as magnolias float bandshells of globed, ten-hole notes;
& your dead mother, on dream’s phone, pining
as you keep trying, what’s wrong?, what’s wrong?
I am waking’s hung-up-on dial tone, that flat-line
buzz in the blood, & your alarm clock’s whooping siren.
Call me diatonic. Call me chromatic.
I am the drunk angel’s mouth-harp,
palm-organ in your hand’s trembling steeple, each
channel searching the strayed way to your lost god,
tongue-shaped reeds choiring in the wind’s church;
& field-psalm for soldiers in gravel’s uniform,
my black notes, your flags luffing at taps’ half-mast.
Call me tremolo. Tongue-block, finger-sigh, over-bend
into glissando, & call me lickin’ stick, tin sandwich,
call me Mississippi sax: drawn, I wheeze an asthmatic’s
bluesroom gasp; blown, I am the green-throated hollers
in the broken beer bottles of your trashed adolescence,
fuck’s Ohhh baby that kicks holes in your bedroom’s sheetrock;
& sucked back: your cheek’s swollen wineskins, the bottled walls
of hookah’s water-smoke—I am release’s lung-punched bliss.
Cured in skin & soul I am, I am the breath in your bones.
—Rattle #28, Winter 2007
Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist
Glenn Morazzini: “The spirit that is the harmonica-persona of this poem, soaring down through nostalgia, dream’s anxious underworld, death, and back up and around through the blues, sex and excess, the spirit that has been cured in this skin and feels like the breath in my bones is as close to stating what I feel about and why I write poetry which is why I called it my Ars Poetica.”
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