Skip to main content

Any Good Throat

ISSUE:  Summer 1980
July, on the basketball court
willie’s face is far and wooden
totem, his eyes melted pools of ice
shimmering in the high stone sun,
the sockets are darkness rotting inside.
15 and can’t get a summer job
because of this the traffic ties up,
the high school windows cloud up with phlegm
or back away empty with the sky.
all day long the slow poison of waiting
for the sharp need in his gut to be
more than this nothing in the mind, waiting
for the name in his blood to ring
louder than this killing in his heart,
staring all day out the same caged grin
because it doesn’t matter
because this tarred over earth
burned and raped and cheated of all growth
where his friends come root like acorns
fallen from some wound up tree
is more mother
than any gray voice in the city
he might hear.

so we give him a ball
and he slams the thing gracefully
so the rim swallows its circle and cries.

a music i’ve seen these evenings
draws me out, whoever i am,
past the sweet sweatdown in late sun
silence up to my knees where i bend
in the backyard working up burdock roots’
grip tapped down a good half foot,
emerges in the saline meaning in my mouth
and the work song rhythm hummed in my hands
pulling the hoe back and forth and back
working in an honest groove, and what
with the blunder some god done made
putting me here in the world to choose
what thing is weed and what is food
makes me want to say, “amen,”
and ripen in my nigger night to sing
and sing.

in the evening indigo off the road
near the reservoir a waterfall
trickles, only waistwide, winding down
to dam behind then spill around dead sticks
in slow gurgle toward water basin
heavy and warm after a humid week,
along the way there are hesitations
where layers of rock rise up awkward like
molars blocking thought in mid-sentence
their volume a venturi for a moment
that, like any good throat, intensifies things,
then thrusts the waters forward in song


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Recommended Reading