Living On Nothing But Honey And Smoke
for Albert Ayler (1936-70) & Cleveland
Evergreen leather winterwear and a honky-tonk, but salty glissando,
a man revealing his baby-life in the dark, when the dark was a scattered ambrosia,
but opening plaints with dynamite, and a grill and a tremolo and hard plastic reed.
What is self-evident, he said, was a colored disk, a sword, the cup of indignation.
I have seen the bright wall of the universe, magnified ten times, and eat only green
things. But when President Johnson was a spooky longhorn, the Pope got the message,
a clicking sound with his tongue, the spirit’s balafon hymnic, the freak bearing.
As the saxophone wends and balloons, so the vision. It wasn’t funny anymore.
Flowering in the very field, his legit sneers, he has sucked the air out of the room,
mesmerized hyena, and brought us back on a kind of ship, afloat & afflatus driftwood…
and the East River took us to the foot of Congress Street Pier where our lungs had dried.
Become Ashtabula, taxonomic, a burned running, a fur peeling, a pure feeling, an orange.
Become an admirer.
Become Olmstead, Parma, and Ashtabula, where translucent quays burn with fox-oil,
overweight drivers, gray mosquitoes, a wood flushed with the lashing waves of pine.
Her brunette radar zoned me, gathering buckeye, rucksack, and eyeglass cloth
we became river: Ashtabula was the orange wreck of bricks, boards, a nurse.
The mud slung me, part of the forest, to a new river. This isn’t tenderness, you know:—
it’s worn. The river, Little Cricket Neck, was burning mineral, iron filing, flies, and tires.
A marvel how rectangular fires make unearned past efforts, so we blazed, filthy nuggets,
to the utter gully, wherewith sky like Gethsemane, we sneaked into the guestroom, all cushiony.
At any rate, we were pierced. The clumps of soot hit the windows, all black now, & I exhaled.
Become a wizard, a ghost, a spirit, a saint, a bell, a Cleveland, the final cadence, two octaves up.
Become an admirer.
Become Ashtabula or become assiento, the darkness of river, aspergillic breaking into ashunch.
Become, yes, admirer.
Poem, copyright © 2005 by Sean Singer
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse