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Sprung Rhythm of a Landscape.

for Charles Wright
 Charles, I'm also a magpie collecting every scrap of
song, color, & prophecy beside the river in the lonesome valley,
along the Trail of Tears, switchbacks, demarcation lines & railroad
tracks, over a ridge called The Devil's Backbone, winding through
the double-green of Appalachia down to shady dominion & Indian
summer. I don't remember how many times, caught between one divine
spirit & the next detour, I wanted to fly home the old way, around
contours of doubt, tailspins I'd learned to gage so well, voices
ahead, before, not yet born, & beyond, doubling back to the smell of
magnolia. Whatever it was in the apparitional light held us to the road.
But your early sky was different than mine, as I drifted up from
bottomland, snagged by grab-vines & bullfrog lingo in a bluesy
grotto. One way or another, a rise & fall is a rise & fall, a
way in & a way out, till we're grass danced-down. I, too, know
my Hopkins (Lightnin' & Gerard Manley), gigging to this
after-hour when all our little civil wars unheal in the body. I shake my
head till snake eyes fall on the ground, as history climbs into the
singing skull to ride shotgun. Our days shaped by unseen movement in the
landscape, cold-cocked by brightness coming over a hill, wild &
steady as a runagate palomino spooked by something in the trees unsaid.
The redbud followed us into starless cities & shook us out like
dusty rags in a dizzy breeze. But we're lucky we haven't been
shaken down to seed-corn in a ragged sack, looped & cinched tight,
lumps of dirt hidden in our coat pockets. Charles, we came as folksongs,
blues, country & western, to bebop & rock 'n' roll,
our shadows hanging out bandaged-up & drawn on a wall easing into
night melody of "Po' Lazarus" at the top & the bottom
of day. Each step taken, each phrase, every snapped string, fallen arch
& kiss on a forgotten street in Verona or Paris transported us
back--back to hidden paths, abandoned eaves & haylofts where a half
century of starlings roosted, back to when we were lost in our
dream-headed, separate eternities, searching till all the pieces fit
together, till my sky is no bluer than your sky. 
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Author:Komunyakaa, Yusef
Publication:Northwest Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Nov 1, 2011
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