Setbreak | Viaticum

                        {the minstrel leaves the stage} 

Nice ax  

               I say.  

                           He says  


but I see how you could confuse that”

                                                             What else   

could I beg for but  


                                               He tells me 


is none not whilst I make water and libate;

buy me one of what you’re having; tell me

your ailings and next set I’ll slather the balm

across your brow”

                               I buy the spirit, but am fine, I tell him

my kids love their puppy, we all tussle.

                                                               I’m guttered 

by this happiness.

                             He sings  

                                            “my psalmbook is a host 

of dogs baned and swole-up; of molars 

shattered by bruxing grief; you’re kindling”

                                                                           He sings                                                 

“air out your eyes”

                                Is that a Hank, ’a Cash?

“alms of such generous measure cannot be

guaranteed nor refunded ”

                                      You Catholic?

                                                              “i am catholic;  you know

i like your proximity and you can sure sit close;

this bar is dead yet I’m drinking left-handed!

come you; congregate with me around the mic”


        “you do you play?”

                                         I can’t play a thing. 

                                                                          “then you will

need a banjo; you’ll make of your right hand

a cup; strum; you could put your other hand

in your pocket; easy”

                                  But to keep such a pace? 

                                                                           “my heel

thuds and leadeth the way; though you peter out

though you rest, pick it back up; and whoa

therein’s dynamics; though you think I’ve lost stride 

the measure divides infinitely; though you lope behind 

you cannot drag the time it drags you along

a consecrated path a circle; we are bound

to overlap”

                   I’m slow of speech and tongue.  

Can’t you get someone else?

“no one is here; neon like moths tick

against tubes these lights so perpendicular

my silhouette glooms against the wall

and lurks; keep your face toward the signage,

mouth toward mic or voice and visage

you will bleed into the corner”

                                                   But I don’t know any words.

“save that line!  it is perfect for banter twixt

songs;  stutter;  be sheepish; the PA could sprawl

a mere hum across the crowded firmament

afterside this drop ceiling; play 

your self as a character; say it skutter tway;  

say Sewanee;  say right and reckon;

say Lawd; attribute weather to him; pluralize

his name, like They Lawds’s lightnin’ out;    

come Tulsa you’ll mumble the chorus; come

Joplin holler, Memphis sing

and Shreveport harmonize; come home

again we’ll blend our twang of breath;

but tonight, follow me; I’ll feed you the word”