for Muddy Waters

On the Mississippi bottoms
West African griot rhythms
filter through Spanish moss
swaying over the river bank.
Lovers find their own cadence,
song settling into their hands
moving over each other’s skin.

At night in the juke joint,
his face commands the stage,
he nods, beams, a calm center
statue-still and ready.

Huge hands, calloused from hoe
and shovel in the fields, cradle
the battered guitar; he slips the slide
on his little finger, it moans and cries
up and down honky-tonk strings.

Outside, on steamy streets,
men in the shadowy dusk
are ready for the night,
as their women saunter in
from their shotgun houses.

An aristocrat where he sits,
the clown on demand,
he needs no maps
to the new land
that forbids tyranny,
where exuberant sounds
untangle the Gordian knot
fashioned of chains.

Image credit:Kevin Dooley

I work with words, sounds and images to come up

with combinations that hopefully do justice to Socrates’

maxim of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

I do believe that the voice is a necessary part of the

full poetic experience, along with music and movement,

even if it’s a movement of the hands or eyes.