A Sunset

Poem By Bob Blackwell

He is a voice of shipwrecked marble,
greened and shattered statuary,
shouting pop songs to the morning.
Clothed in his exhausted changes,
cardigans moulting over rickracked
black skirt over broker's ruined suit,
which clings to him in another's shape,
he looks halfway from human.
There is nothing else he can do;
but bandage his dreads in knit caps,
bind in wool his arms and shins
against the delirium, insistent, delicate,
terrible, as a campaign of ants. He touches
his blind eyes, their leaking meats,
his lips, groin, last year's broken hip,
to constellate himself for the straits
of evening's rest. Hearing him sing
the songs of seven generations,
of hillbillies, castaways, mavericks,
we, the dying, who wait impatient
beside him, by our understanding
are comforted, soothed by his vision
of those green acres. Before him
a bus's pneumatic doors groan open,
like an old priest climbing to his knees
without conviction, and with a gesture
archaic as the lavish waste of new
vintages poured out onto dirt, the smoke
of pleasure and of sacrifice, the singer
cups his hands saying, fitfully, nothing.
The sweatshop-racket of cicadas,
a bird's two-note diminuendo like
a dog tied up outside, bluebottles purring
their little flesh-songs, decay and repair
—in the wind small things also cry.

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