In his tiger-tooth necklace, his striped shirt, and black-rimmed
glasses, he sits in the judge's chair. He tells us how he died
in Korea from a shrapnel wound and was resurrected by dope, how he died
again in prison and was brought back to life
by the poem. He tells us how the faces of his family helped him see
through stone, how, even though the voice may be strident
or angry, the poem comes from love. He tells us about feeling fucked up.
He laughs. He makes the sound
of the drum, kah doom/kah doom-doom kah doom/kah doom-doom-doom ... He
sings Willow, Weepfor Me
, for us.
He throws his head back, closes his eyes and sings. When he bends down
into a poem
in this courtroom where the murder trial has been postponed, he closes
his eyes and we can hear frogs and crickets
along a Mississippi roadside and look up through the dark at stars
blinking in hell.