By Smith, Bruce
In the fingers of Bruce Smith, devotions are non permanent stops to hear the motor of background. they're meditations and provocations. they're messages acquired from the chatter of the road and from transmissions as far away as Memphis and al-Mansur. announcements and interruptions come from brutal elsewheres and from the inner the place tune places electrodes at the physique to take an EKG. those poems stopover at excessive colleges, laundromats, hotels, movies, and desires with a view to degree the yankee starvation and thirst. they're attracted to the issues we profess to carry most respected in addition to what’s unstated and unbidden. whereas we’re using, whereas using a bus, whereas receiving a choice, whereas passing via an X-ray desktop, the private is intersected—sometimes violently, occasionally tenderly—with the hum and buzz of the tradition. The tradition, no matter if long island or Tuscaloosa, Seattle or Philadelphia, prior or current, consists of the load of race and “someone’s notion of beauty.” The poems vary among the 2 poles of “lullaby and homicide” earlier than taking a vow to stay on the earth, to appear correct and left, to attend and to witness.
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Her skin a warp of ghost and a weft of meat. All night she had hauled me and the boy, and the smoky, feckless men I was across the fens and stretches of mesquite through the tunnels and delivered me to my misery and the laborious knots of the sheets I wound myself in. And she was exhausted from Eros and swollen from anger. She could stand to put on a few pounds. I could see it in her ribs. Before I would marry my restlessness to her terror, before the crushes and wages could be made into our equity, before the endlessness would end in spinning jennies and sleaze and the noise of a fleet of vehicles with tinted windows testing the evacuation routes, I would cut, then peel, then dice, then caramelize some onions before she wasted away to nothing.
We’re both tremendously happy although you are worried about my eyes, and you turn to me speaking from business documents and schoolbooks while I can only sing a blues about the rules for distance and difficult love. 31 devotion: al green I rode the Greyhound watching the twitchy things of the North give way to the sticky, bloodshot things of the South. No ground so burnt there’s not a church where I heard the Reverend amplify, rarefy, and glorify the word so that we were all in some state of sweating July.
Keep it there, under your tongue, until I tell you you can spit it out. The city’s speech a slow oxidizing fire not fierce enough to burn you, not fiery enough to keep you warm. In dream the body was a seedpod—pericarp and placenta of the sweet flag and not the dead come home to Fort Drum in camo body bags. The dream was a tango in a ballroom in a strip mall. A lacquered black Camaro in a bra. Shadowless winter of cough and cough syrup and books of matches like a lab for cooking crystal meth. ” Eight months without you taught me nothing, Mistress.