Trust me I’m really trying to pay attention
     but it’s harder every day

& so I begin to trust only in appearances not
     “authenticity”—that half truth—

Growing so precisely redacted it’s even less
     now than what it once seemed

So I can’t help it & maybe I’m doing all right?—
     someone else has to tell me

I spend all my time in meetings & almost none
     with the few people I love

Still my house is beautiful it’s filled with books
     & filled with light & filled too

With eloquent recordings of music at the end
     of the world & also with the grace

Of the woman who’s made this house of paper
     songs & tied my hand-inked messages

With black ribbons to those thin branches
     above the brick walkway

Leading to our door as it’s now the single way
     I’ll actually write to people

& how do I look to you these days?—& really
     who remembers it all as you do?—

& when the night-blooming jasmine smells so
     delicious I love just sitting here

Shredding on Lance’s custom shop Les Paul—
     my vintage Vox amp cranked up

So high no microphone could salvage those lyrics
     of pure human spittle you know

That song I mean the one about all of us—fiercely
     irrelevant & yet so briefly alive

From The Last Troubadour (Ecco Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by David St. John. Used with permission of the author.