All You're Losing.
It's Easter Eve in Trax, and hot as hell, in 1986 Charlottesville, And Paul Westerberg of the Replacements has forgotten the words to "Skyway"-- the only song everyone else knows the words to-- and as everything hurdy-gurdies to a kind of halt some other drunk yells, "A Little Mascara," and Bob Stinson, flat on his back, cranks the A and E from his Firebird and somehow the whole machine takes off, and before you know it, Westerberg's wailing, All you're losing is ... a little mascara , and it's true, love is like that, and my friend Elizabeth is peeling off her shirt, and so's Ginsberg, and all of us are skunk drunk, bug-eyed gods and the night's looking pretty good all around. Allen's been asking the world to forgive Pound for hating the Jews, and everyone in the lecture-hall in this town we call Whitey seems more than happy to forgive: usura, usura, okay USA. At dinner he told us to fuck poetry altogether and get into computers, The future , he said, live with it , right as always, the beautiful bastard, man among angels, but I wanted to piss on his feet, we all did, or kiss them, I don't know: Forgive us our past, that drunken bafflement.... But now, Jesus, now, today , it's perfect and we all understand: the show's done, and ten years later everyone will sound like Westerberg, and Cobain & friends will die for it, just like Bird died for it, and everyone else--for Christ's sake-- great and bitter, rock and roll, and before and after, we'll get tweaked in the back of the restaurant where everyone worked, where someone will snort a smiley face off the bar, and we'll drive out to Monticello, for God's sake, for the sunrise service because we're sentimental by now, and because Allen was dying soon, and so was Bob, and all of us, and because Jefferson loved his negroes, after all, and they'd be there in the mist of the hill, the mist of this beautiful country that tries to forgive everyone, every last one of us, and we're all climbing the hill slumped like somebody's lashed to our backs--all of us--Allen, Paul, Elizabeth, me, everyone--the sun's coming up, and I'm holding Elizabeth, and so's Paul, and we're all crying by now, singing hymns, like everybody else-- the rocker Jesus, the faggot Jew Jesus, every black Jesus in the ground, sweet Jesus of the painted eyes, the pale light spilling down the hill Jesus, the one-nation-conceived-in-Tom-Jefferson's-stables-and-brought-forthin-the- pixelated-fire-of-technologic-wonder Jesus, shattered, atomized--the future, the past, all you're losing.... We're crying by now, singing hymns, like everybody else--crying on a great American hill because you just don't lose that much when you do.
DAVID DANIEL directs the undergraduate creative writing program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he also founded WAMFEST: The Words and Music Festival. These poems are from a recently completed book tentatively titled Ornaments & Other Assorted Love Songs. The essay is excerpted from a memoir-in-progress, The Fall-Down Diet. Seven-Star Bird, his first book, is available from Graywolf Press.
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|Title Annotation:||four poems|
|Author:||Daniel, David (American poet)|
|Publication:||The American Poetry Review|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2010|
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