a poem from George Elliott Clarke

Each Moment Is Magnificent

George Elliott Clarke
From:   Whylah Falls, 1990.

Othello practises White Rum, his scale of just music, and clears the love song of muddying his morals. He sets his glass down 1ovingly, a whole chorus of molecules sloshing in harmony. He vows he will not, he will not be a dead hero, no way, suffering a beautiful sleep, trimmed with ochre, hazelnut, dressed in mahogany, smelling of last-minute honey and tears, regrets rained upon him too late in the guise of wilted, frail flowers. Instead, he will sleep right now, while he still can, up to his thighs in thighs, gnaw dried, salty smelts, ana water song with rum. Sweet Sixhiboux, run softly till I end my song.

Wearing the lineaments of ungratified desire, Selah sashays from the livingroom, watches dusk bask in the River Sixhiboux. She tells Othello to shut up because Jericho’s where she’s gonna go when she falls in love. Yep, when that someday man come out the blue to Whylah Falls, Beauty Town, to serenade her and close his wings around her, she’ll be in Jericho at last like the fortune-tel1er says. She’ll jump the broom and cross the Nile.

I stroll outside with strange music in my skull. Here’s the Sixhiboux River, tossed tinfoil, crinkling along the ground, undistracted by all the grave lovers it attracts, all those late Romantics who spout Lake Poet Wordsworth, “The world is too much with us, late and soon,” and brood upon the river’s shimmering bliss before tossing themselves within, pretending to be Percy Bysshe Shelley at Lerici. I’ve thought of the Sixhiboux in those erotic ways, dreamt it as midnight-thick, voluptuous, folding — like a million moths, furry with a dry raininess — over one. No matter where you are in Sunflower County, you can hear it pooling, milling in a rain storm, or thundering over a hapless town. Even now, I can hear its shining roar pouring over Shelley’s house, polishing the roses that nod, drunken, or spring — petalled crude — from earth. All I hear is an old song, her voice, lilting, “Lover Man.”

[Click on this link for more poems from George Elliott Clarke: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/canpoetry/clarke/index.htm]

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