The Music Box (In Memory of Bessie Smith) (written Circa 2003)

Listen to it go – fast, and faster still

So unreal and dizzying like jazz.

People talk like that you know – like they know –

For that quick second or so.

Did you hear, did you hear?

Chaos in the world like a swirl.

Yup, yeah, alright, and sure –

How many times must you sing that tune?

How many shakes and twists of my head

And lips – saying yeah, yes, uh huh, I know.

As giant a word as a growl – like a giant step –

A giant skip into empty arms, of God?

Why isn’t life much a musical, God?

About as abandoned as a call – to the police-

When you are considered a nobody in nobody’s home

Bessie Smith is bleeding, and bleeding –

And a call to the police – all lost –

She’s black and red and blue –

But her cry to God wasn’t the right sound

To these white gaping faces –

Who seem to like the sounds of twigs crackling with skin

In a fire, newsflash! Like a shout to God –

In an empty street, an empty home.

There’s much more to a music box

Than invisible notes, and words

And persons – not here but away.

It’s history – you know –

What we make like God.

Leave a Reply