Scared boy, he even fled a cloud reminding him of what might happen when his father returned from sea, wasted, to find him perhaps again locked out in the cold, waiting for other drinkers to come home (his mother, her lover)--the catalysis of routine violence passing close like a storm cloud insisting rain; until the rain did fall and the father left, returning though once with a clarinet . . . And when the cloud came back in the sound of a memory the boy had grown, had learned to let it swell into the note he now holds in me as a laser reads his tone mastered for fidelity-- sweet prismatic splinter and swing, a double-timing scrape aiming for my ear alone in a rented chamber. Nowhere, and I'm with him, fully in tune as if he stood hot before me, his life seeming no more dear to him than the sax he hawked for any kind of syrup he hoped might creep into his heart like fucked-up love that felt like love in the belly meadow warmth of his measured joy. Hungry Art, Art of wind, of lips upon the reed; Art of blue, foolish Art, would you be so nice to come home to?-- Bragging his genius for a time turned rancid in San Quentin, swaggering with a ripped-off thuggery honor and sick with the terror of not seeming criminal . . . White man junky thief whose skin glowed narco-green with the sound of Keats amped through Pound I repeat his name jacked-in to the straight blowing of a life clarifying like butter over flame: what's home, where's harm; how to fix; how praise-- Lover, come back to me. Why are we afraid?
From The World's Room by Joshua Weiner, published by the University of Chicago Press. Copyright © 2001 by Joshua Weiner. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.