Oral History, Vol. 37

Jason Myers
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I woke in the wreck of history

still drowsy, a dryness in my

bed, my bones. Would you

like fingers, the Lord asked,

& gave me plenty. There was

no music, no garden in them.

I wanted to be touched the way

I had touched, delicately, but

with great passion. If you want

another kind of lover, Leonard

Cohen crooned. Not my will,

Martin Luther King intoned,

but God’s. I wanted a word

for every surface, for the belly

& the underbelly, the line between

the lines. There was a secret

name inside every living thing,

a song underneath every song.

What happened then, I asked,

meaning both before & next.

The Lord said Kabul. Said

manifest destiny. Said Rembrandt

said Bordeaux said Dakota

said Chelsea Hotel said Egyptian

cotton said Homer. The Greek

poet, I asked. No. Homer Plessy.

Oh, I said. I see. But I did not.

Lulls, curtains, continuations.

You want company, the Lord asked,

& made New Orleans, oceans,

rye bread, Cointreau. There

were some companions sent

by another party. There were

days smothered in solitude,

nights when I thought, if only

I could sleep, if only…but I

could not complete the sentence.

Are you hungry, the Lord asked.

Oh my. Oh yes. Oh my yes.

This poem is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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