Poem: January 17th, 2012

Yusef Komunyakaa was completely unknown to me until I read that he’d been nominated for the National Book Award for The Chameleon Couch, his poetry collection. I still know nothing about him, except this poem is great:

Grunge

No, Sweetheart, I said courtly love.

I was thinking of John Donne’s

“Yet this enjoys before it woo,”

but my big hands were dreaming

Pinetop’s boogie-woogie piano

taking the ubiquitous night apart.

Not Courtney.  I know “inflated tear”

means worlds approaching pain

& colliding, or a heavenly body

calling to darkness, & that shame

has never been my truest garment,

because I was born afraid of needles.

But I’ve been shoved up against

frayed ropes too, & I had to learn

to bob & weave, to duck & hook,

till I could jab my way out of

a foregone conclusion, till blues

reddened a room.  All I know it,

sometimes a man wants only a hug

when something two-steps him

toward a little makeshift stage.

Somehow, between hellhounds

& a guitar solo made of gutstring

& wood, I outlived a stormy night

with snow on my eyelids.

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Filed under Oh Noetry, Poetry

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