IN A CEMETERY OFF WOLFSKIN ROAD
Blue notes whipped off a catgut slide
break the rain gray road with moans and shouts
of a South that believes in death and crossroads,
and the speaker crackles, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon,
Jimi Hendrix, Dylan, Patti Smith, Nick Cave…
And the country roads deliver, spirits wash,
eight cylinders rumble, 195/75 r14 tires swish and hold,
and the pear green pastures sway down in water,
Appaloosa and Angus march windward to the East,
and the blue notes roar, the country blues howl:
Through red wine and heroin, seduction and prayer,
terror driven up from the swamps and delta
into these Georgia shacks, into these temples,
into a day where the song is a cracked lip,
dehydrating in the rain, begging, demanding…
And the car rushes by the scenes:
Nouveau redneck red brick mansions, an El Camino,
Dodge Ram, minivans, trailers, busted axles and rims,
barns from the first war tilting, still standing,
burned-out barns, fire-charred houses, open wells,
harness on a water oak, to the right a graveyard,
a church, Primitive Baptists or Fundamental,
simple worship and deliverance, it’s all the same.
A gospel of sin runs down and sings salvation,
beer bathed christenings lurk in the stream,
laughter rises on the water, and the rebirths are carved
in heavy fruited chinaberry by the minister’s study.
Pecan tree shells itself out front here,
here by the marble and granite markers,
by the three white crosses, tall, white crosses,
and I stop and sit awhile, watch the rain and winds rush.
A stand of blackberry shimmers and shakes,
and road whispers “follow me,”
and I don’t know where to go but go wait,
go here and wait…
Watching the crossroads, watching the dead stay dead.
Between the rain and the heat mists rise on the meadows.
She seems there: Wide hips large breasts long smile,
dark voice cool, cool across a burgundy smile,
seeing me seeing, waiting, singing dies irae,
her dark voice powered by depression and thrill,
and the devil doesn’t come to meet me, history does.
Mirror fleshed and blue veined, spirit fades in,
and fades, fade to wind,
fade to shouts in a city street,
fade to quiet on the road/hillsides,
she stands alone in the cemetery in the rain,
lingering in the dusk like a blanket upon the days,
becoming moon, becoming night, the next blue dream,
and a ghost dance churns behind a thin heartbeat,
“gotta go now, don’t speak.”
And she weaves into the spray of a passing slant 6.
And the blue notes pound off a rain gray road…