AS ONE PUTTING THE PHONOGRAPH NEEDLE BACK ONE SONG AFTER FINDING A COVETED RECORDING
by David Blair
Most of the country is not hung up
on Rome as we are, a couple of yard pagans—
that was a wonderful smile
under that big Blonde Venus afro wig
that you stole from Marlene Dietrich
to shine at me in a dream
as reassuring as a rainbow
up near the lip of the Maelstrom.
There’s gladness at the heart of being a person
most of the time impervious
yet visible to our speculation,
as sorrow eats cake at happy weddings.
In the universal masquerades
mostly we are barely initiates
into these or any other mysteries—
even the most blissful and fortunate
bodies good as short term rentals
and so there are these gas stations ablaze
at night where the longer you drive,
the more you have to get back home.
(“As One Putting the Phonograph Needle Back One Song After Finding a Coveted Recording” was originally published in Barnstorm and is reprinted here today with permission from the poet.)
David Blair’s first book, Ascension Days, was published by Del Sol Press in 2007. He is an associate professor at the New England Institute of Art in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Editor’s Note: Today’s poem is dense with language, images, and especially ideas. It may take a second read, or more, to really start to grapple, as the poet does, with the ideas at the center of the poem. In the end you may find that “the longer you drive, the more you have to get back home.”