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a poem by DB Cox

cotton-town requiem (for a one-time resident
bluesman of a bygone southern mill village)

"With a throat smooth as a lamb
Yet dry as a branch not snapping
He throws back his head
And he does not sing a thing mournfulů"
-- Patti Smith, from "Death Singing"

down in cotton-town
a sweat-stained
street preacher
dances along
cracked concrete
& prays
over the remains
of toppled
cotton mills
& stone-dead
that can never
be raised
from the ground --
hollow invocations
ride the night
on a feeble breeze
curling round & round
down in

in cotton-town
spent ashes fall
from a neglected
cigarette jammed
between metal strings
running over
the headstock
of a pawn shop guitar
like blue veins
leading to the heart
of the matter
open chords stumble
& stagger
behind bottleneck moans
sliding along
a juke joint floor --
a post-apocalyptic
with a face
like a refugee
growls ominous phrases
that crack
like broken glass
red-hot pieces
tumbling among
trumpet trills
& dissonant
piano arpeggios --
guitar chords
overturned & burning
down in cotton-town

© by DB Cox
Gutter Eloquence Magazine ~ Issue #22 ~ July 2012    return to top