Wake Up, Goddamn, Give the Fiddler a Dram
How does the fiddle do it? Dead feet
revive and fling toward heaven. Only slaps
from bull strings land them back on the map.
How does the fiddle do it? All seats
empty, even wallflowers crack their stone
postures, giving muscle to melody.
Then the trickster sustains our sympathy
with a long bow that carries the weight of bones.
Tension dissolves in tone. Three short
strokes introduce the path back home,
reunion after exile, the sweet tune
a guileless mother hums as baby snorts
in her arm. The dream settles like beer foam
as Jimmie hears his cue: "The King of Croon."
Jimmie Howl Auditions a Harmony Singer
Raised where land was cleared with vocal commands,
trees fall when my mouth opens . . . elements
scatter, mules sneer. The roots exposed
in song disrupt an easy hike with demands
of place. Before the ravine bumps the summit,
I lose my voice in certain octaves: Go
mute or squeak where Momma traced the source
of red that stained the laundry back to Father.
His morning creekside prayer crumbled. The force
of an axe from behind knocked his face in water.
They left his pockets inside out. His brains
swayed in the current like a clump of creamed
pig intestines being fried. The pain
strips the sound from the key of Momma's scream.
I can't make those notes. Otherwise,
my range can tame the land like railroad ties.
You better quit that lily jubilee
style of nutless singing if you want
to work for me. How can you smile
through a murder ballad? Humility
and pretty teeth are different moral stunts:
One grits in joy, the other guile.
Two voices imply a third note,
a rich chord if done right. Your thin
mountain tenor, if torqued, could float
around my lead like wasps around a hen
that pecked and pecked their nest to pieces. Put
your spine, that humming center, into the slur.
Rise octaves above my delta abyss,
then plunge a blue note right in the gut.
Ever rub a cat in heat? The purr
I seek in you would sneak and kill for bliss.