Robert Lietz

I'll Be Home: A Flamingo Valentine (2)

A Line

""Picture-perfect say, the wait-staff's hovering,
and sure in this upstairs hall,
this round in a first month's rounds and anniversaries,
given the voice and veiling,
this almost priestly exploration we've agreed to,
exploring the heathers, the sharpening verge,
the mystery a black Jew shares, connecting these lines
to all the music's ever asked of him,
remembering the venues once, at the heart
of this old century, and seasons
reduced to elements, tonight to this thin full moon,
respecting the forms of love
and forms of audience.

""There's memorabilia, sure, CDs, and Flamingo Ts.
And here, at this table next to ours, at home
in these Pittsburgh hills, relaxing with local relatives,
Larry and Zeke, J.C.
are finding themselves this long way back, and Zeke's
transpiriting, with his own dead cousin's son,
and four, and six, these voices that came to play
and lead an audience to pleasure, bringing to be
and calling back their place in history.

""The pictures, let's say, I failed at, the batteries
finished with one flash, the second and third sets
sitting in our kitchen in Ohio.

""And you, and we, Elizabeth, depend on the music
after all, remembering the clefs
a heart or broken heart had seized on""-- depend
on these dates
we're sharing once again for a third winter,
inscrutably keen and veteran,
transfiguring the brag, the innocence,
the motion where chilled hands
signed in public scenes and public endings,
and under the same thin moon
no crying aloud undoes or measures. And you,
and we, we come to ourselves
considering this something in their style,
ourselves in their midst and crowdings-in,
in the smoke and veil of silky runs
we seek to see through, the nostalgia
and sitting prophecies
a table of strangers draws around,
and the music shading
a table of strangers

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The 2River View, 3_4 (Summer 1999)