David Wright: Three Poems
When He Sings Like an Old 78 | Jones Speaks in the Garden | Common Meter
When He Sings Like an Old 78
The needle rides heavy in his grooves,
and if he forgets to turn the crank,
he slows down, growls lower, but it helps
you to pick out the words. "Loved by you,
you and nobody else but you." And on the bridge,
when the speed picks up, the clarinet solo
could cause a revolution, could make a Baptist girl
dance and hum, when that old man's body
becomes a thin reed for the first time in years.
Jones Speaks in the Garden
This place is too lush; let's build
a bar where we can crush peanut shells
on pine floors, then someone can cure
tobacco leaves so we can at least smoke
before, then after, we nip at pomegranate wine.
Then we’ll leave each other alone to head home
while God stays around to learn the twelve bar blues.
Mike has blue shoes
and no sense of rhythm.
He does not remember
Elvis, nor has he ever
felt suede, seen how
it accepts fingerprints.
No, he merely has blue shoes
and a lime green suit,
cotton, polyester blend,
he wears to the funerals
of strangers. “I like to add
a little life,” he says, digs
one blue toe in the cemetery
dirt, and hums a hymn
in no time anyone else can
follow, even if they would.
David Wright’s poems, essays, and reviews have appeared
in print and online in such places as Karamu, The Christian Century, The New
Pantagruel and many others. He teaches writing
and literature in the Chicago area and is a recipient of a poetry fellowship
from the Illinois Arts Council. His most recent poetry collection is A Liturgy
for Stones. More information is available from Cascadia Publishing House.