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Yes, You

I felt it happening as it was happening, the trumpet
player wore a gun on his hip, a shot heard
all over town.  If you can speak Louis Armstrong,
you’ll understand the fat of winter on a summer night,
the burning ache of a West Virginia coalminer’s song.
You’ll inhabit a degree of verve forever to be
dispatched.  Open the bass and sound the gravel,
more than your mother’s night out.  But if we gave
it all away, could we make a place overseas?  
Picking olives is no easy day.  In the supremacy
of the European bourgeoisie, “everyone” had a culture—
now where do we get one of our own?  
Even a sub-dissident with no clear cut channel to swim
against should work upon her street tactics.  
Instead of enacting, I walk openly to the store.  
The bodega is beautiful for its brevity.
The boon of a bodega is its camaraderie;
try telling that to a banker’s daughter though.  She’ll
want a ski resort or a piñata club, anything but
chivalry wrapped in patterns of corner store love.
Now here’s the oak between splitting slabs, a push
of concrete aside for a file of ants and forests
of daisies to make from wind a cause.
Likewise, the nearby tongues are timed ones,
although the untamed step joyously out of sync.
I’m on day two of the body, its remedial surfaces,
a charmed night air to sound itself home with:  I use
these places for my own constraints and as a reminder
there’s a storyteller within, if you’d only let her loose.

This poem appears in the 2007 Anthology
View all poems by Amy King